2020 Heroes: Shelby McGuffin, RN

Shelby McGuffin. – Reporting and photography by Amber Shumake

Shelby McGuffin


Texas Health Southwest Fort Worth

3 years in her profession.

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“When I was little I was obsessed with ER. I had to sneak watch it. I was drawn to medical things— especially emergency medicine.” 

How has COVID-19 changed what you do?

There were changes at the beginning, really. Every hour things are changing. A lot of stuff we didn’t know about it, but I think we’ve really come together and worked really hard to help each other out and support each other. It can be hard, physically and mentally.

What do you wish people not involved in health care knew?

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I think if they had a family member who was affected, if they had a personal experience with COVID, they would feel. … They might feel differently about everything shutting down. Whereas I can see both sides of it, the benefits and the negatives, but I think since we have a little bit more personal view.

And I sympathize with people who are losing money and have lost their jobs.

But I can’t possibly understand them because I’m not in that position. But they also can’t possibly understand when we’re seeing people. We do every treatment possible, every skill, every med, every intervention and they’re still dying. That’s hard. You can’t really explain that feeling to someone.

People are still dying. We can’t explain that.

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It can be frustrating. I don’t know. I guess because they can’t see where we’re coming from either. That part can be a little frustrating and sad when we run into it.

Have you had a high point through all this?

I think, if anything, we see how well the hospital can pull together. Each floor, each unit can look differently throughout everything. I feel like we’ve all tied together pretty well through it.

Like being more fluid with changes and just knowing you have to adjust. That’s your only option. You just have to be fluid and accept all the different changes.

How do you like wearing masks?

They’re hot. … I’m not coming up with anything to say.

– Reporting and photography by Amber Shumake