WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg nurse has written a poem to convey what it’s like to be a frontline healthcare worker during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My hands are cracked from washing

“My heart heavy with fear,

“Knowing that the enemy we’re fighting

“Can follow me home from here,” the poem, written by Emma Cloney and posted to the St. Boniface Hospital’s website, reads.

Cloney, a labour and delivery nurse who works at both St. Boniface Hospital and the Health Sciences Centre, is also part of the indie folk duo The New Customs. She said she wrote the poem to express how she was feeling coming into one of her shifts during the pandemic.

“There was so much emotion and fear – I felt compelled to write,” she said in a news release. 

During the outbreak, Cloney has put music off to the side to focus on being a nurse. She noted this poem is about taking ownership over how she feels.

“As nurses, we are scared, but we are moving courageously through this,” she said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Cloney’s work schedule has seen a drastic change: she goes in early to get through the screening line and stays late to take a decontamination shower.

“Although the mental, physical, and emotional heaviness is exhausting, we aren’t going to abandon our jobs,” says Cloney. “We’re going to stay here and keep doing what we’re passionate about,” she said.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic is a learning experience for many nurses at the hospital.

“We’re dressing ourselves up for battle,” Cloney said. “And asking you to stay home for us.”

Cloney shared the poem to her Facebook page on April 2. It’s received thousands of shares and hundreds of positive comments.