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Nurses Share Their COVID-19 Experiences

March 30, 2020

We want nurses' stories to be a part of what’s remembered when we look back on the COVID-19 outbreak in years to come. That's why we asked our nurses who are currently on the front lines saving lives to share their experiences. We are in awe of your courageous drive and dedication to high-quality patient care. Thank you to all nurses during this historic and uncertain time.

Here are a few snippets from our nurses:

I must say during this tragic, emotional and deadly time of the year I have never been so devastated. I know as health care workers we are not only on the front line but on a battlefield!

It is more than we ever expected in life and the only way to meet the requirements of the government and help keep each other from spreading this "Toxic" virus is to focus on maintaining your health and keeping your immune system strong.

It is imperative to stay inside and take care of yourself and your loved ones. I encourage you to hydrate, rest and pray! I know this is not the easiest thing to do but I assure you that it will pay off in the end. 

I am forever grateful for Faststaff Travel Nursing Co! I know exactly what I signed up to do in life and my goal is to help people survive in this world so, If I have to battle on the field I'm proud to say I have a company that will give me the support I need to make it through this war!

Stay safe!

#coronavirus #healthcare #Nursingstaff #Live #Love #Evolve 

Shikoma M.Surgical Technologist

Travel nurse Michelle H. in PPE gear while working with COVID-19 patients. 

As an Agency/Travel Nurse, I have worked in many hospitals all over the country, all with unique situations and challenges.  This experience takes the cake!

The New Year 2020 starts like any other except now with news from China surrounding a lethal novel virus spreading rapidly.  With predictions of a global pandemic crisis, hospitals in the northeast are preparing for the worst and begging for help.  Since I had worked in a large urban hospital in NJ intermittently for the last 8 months, I decide to return for another 4 week assignment starting on March 2, 2020.

In normal circumstances, this hospital sees 400-500 patients daily in the ED and Fast Track and is one of the busiest locations I have ever worked.  The sudden dramatic change I see within a few days is staggering and what one would see in movies. 

I triage a 32 yo very athletic and healthy appearing male patient who did not present with any of the symptoms that the CDC reported to be consistent with COVID19.   He is swabbed for the flu and after other diagnostics resulted negative, he is discharged and sent home.   Afterward, I proceed with my busy day caring for approximately 60 patients in fast track.  I later receive a phone call from Occupational Medicine Department asking a series of questions.  Thirty minutes later the Occ Med physician calls and orders me to proceed to the DECON room in the ED.  I am not to leave the room until I have been evaluated by the ED Doc and cleared to go home.  Evidently, the patient I originally triaged returned to the hospital very ill and was positive for COVID19.  I am placed in quarantine for 14 days, unable to leave my room and certainly could not go home to quarantine in Colorado.  I felt helpless and trapped as if I were in jail.

I need to figure out a way to help even though I am in quarantine.  I decide to start a group chat with the nurses I work with to offer support and to keep informed on the hospital environment.  Multiple times daily, nurses express frustration and fatigue.  However, everyone continues to push on to exhaustion on a daily basis.  Crises brings out the true character of people.  Health care workers usually are selfless and will do what has to be done for the sick.  I know I had to continue helping in any way possible, even from my quarantined room.  Getting and passing on information is something I can do and is a good way to help.

My wife is a physician in charge of a group of providers serving many hospitals rurally.  As part of her job, she spends hours each day keeping up with the ever evolving CDC recommendations. The information she sends to me is passed on to our doctors and nurses.  Basically, we as health care workers need to be protected.  Who will care for patients if we all get sick?  Staff members start wearing the recommended PPE (personal protective equipment) throughout their shift and not just when coming in close contact with a possible COVID-19 patient.  Now everyone seems on the same page, with the same level of heightened awareness and caution.

Finally, my quarantine is over.  I am asymptomatic and able to return to work.  Things have changed drastically in a short amount of time.  To help reduce the flow of non-critical patients inside the hospital, a triage tent is constructed in the parking lot.  Patients are initially seen outside and either determined to be sick enough to go into the ED or to get tested and go home.  There still is not enough staff to support to flow of patients.  Everyone was working above and beyond their highest capacity.  Every minute we are triaging our tasks and what needs to be done first in that very moment. 

I am back in Colorado helping to care for my wife who is being treated for breast cancer.  As the nation practices social distancing and non-essential businesses are closed, we hope the crisis on the west coast and in the northeast can be localized, limiting the number of Americans exposed and dying from this illness.

Our generation has never seen a global disaster such as this.  We are “building the plane as we fly it.” Let us all keep positive thoughts and actions in our daily lives in an attempt to support each other. 

Together we will prevail.

Nico S.

Surviving COVID while on quarantine/isolation at an apartment in Brooklyn NY. How I am doing and did it and kept my family safe. For all our front line workers especially my fellow everyday healthcare workers and our RN’s and those confirmed or coming home from work assume you are positive. I collected data from CDC, DOH, WHO and everywhere else possible two weeks ago and so far, it’s working when I was questionable and then confirmed.

  1. 1/3 bleach with water. Desanitize entire apartment ceiling to floor. Sofas, tables. Everything. I didn’t really care about the damage of bleach. I care about killing the germs. Spray wipe leave wet until it dries. For me at least three to five minutes to dry. I am doing this every two day-three days. Vacuum daily.

  2. If positive or coming home from work. Practice as if you’re positive. Take a shower and follow your tracks. Practice social distancing at home. I started with arm’s length with the kids as it was difficult. I always had a basic life support bag at home and reused the same surgical mask for a week one until it was unusable, then used the next one. The kids kept asking why you must wear a mask when we are close to you. I said “to protect you guys” from getting sick. It took a couple of days but now they have gotten used to it. Now they say “dad I have a question I am coming close put on your mask”. It’s tough as these are my children but it’s working. If you have young ones and are still working wear a mask when picking them up.

  3. Ventilate the home. I was thankful to have a powerful window fan and circulating air every couple of hours throughout the apartment

  4. For my Mother who is in a separate apartment over 65. She was exposed to me prior to confirmation. When it was questionable I quickly within a few hours followed steps 1-3 with the exception repeating step one once a week by someone else with proper droplet precautions (meaning wearing a mask when coughing or sneezing and in general). She is symptom free and is not opening the door for anyone and we are communicating every couple of hours.

  5. For my fellow front line workers and everyone else. Again, this is just my way getting through this and how it’s working. As hard as it might be. Consider yourself positive and don’t get close or if you can separate yourself from the elders and family at home.

  6. I am sleeping in a separate room, recommend this to all coming home from work. Using a separate blanket and pillow and washing it every two days with bleach. It’s all white now but that’s okay. This has kept my wife and kids safe. Again, this is how I am doing it.

  7. The kitchen and bathroom are cleaned twice daily. Once after lunch and then at bedtime. Following step 1. Suggest this for those coming home 

This is how I am doing it and will add on as I recall what I am doing and it’s working. It doesn’t supersede any official data or recommendations. This is what I am doing. So far, it’s working. Please share with others and mix and match and comment on what’s working for you. Let’s get through this together. This is my way of how I am dealing with it and will when I am back on the front lines.

Sijjad K.

My husband and I have always wanted to travel and work in California, but never dreamed it would be at a time like this. Things we are seeing on a daily basis are unreal. It’s a very sobering time to be alive and to be a nurse. Usually when embarking on new assignments, we consider new charting systems, new ways of doing things... On this assignment, we are concerned about where we will get our food and what will be open. We do not have any children yet, so we feel the more we can work, the more we can alleviate strain on nurses with children trying to navigate this new world of nursing. Prayers to all who are effected by COVID-19, and prayers we make it out of this nightmare FAST.


2 ICU nurses❤️

Jessica S.

I’m Kathi RN and this is Baby B, my travel cat checking in from Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

On assignment for 6 weeks, we rented a car and drove here from Detroit, Michigan on March 23, 2020. Night shift nurse here, we sleep during the day, and I am helping in the fight against Covid by night at work. I am working at a small community hospital. The covid confirmed and rule out cases are contained on specific units. Sometimes I work other units in the hospital depending on needs as I am a Tele float nurse. We are working hard to defeat Covid-19.

Please keep us in your prayers and God Bless America. Stay home and stay safe, we are all in this together ❤️

Kathi K. 

Imagine the most important person in your life suddenly having something happen⁠—accident, emergency surgery, or hospitalization. Something unrelated to the virus. Then imagine you not being with them. Not at all. You can call but you cannot hold their hand, you cannot assure then by looking in their eyes… you are apart from them completely. Maybe it’s your elderly mom and you have to reassure you elderly dad that she will be fine (even though he hasn’t been apart from her and now he is forced to be apart). It could be your 19 year old daughter and she in the hospital without you, scared because she is alone. This is happening every day.

My heart aches each day I go into work. I pray every day that God gives me the words to say to comfort patients. That holding their hand will get them through this. I pray for every nurse out there that aside from the fear, lack of supplies, stress, etc., that we remember the most important thing⁠—there is a special someone in that hospital bed that is scared and needs us. They don’t need what is going on in the world…they need us!! Their family needs to know that even though they can’t be there…their loved one is not alone!!! Pray for all the staff in the hospital that are taking care of someone’s most important person.

Robin, RN

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