Registered Nurse, NYU Langone Medical Center
Working on a COVID floor during a worldwide pandemic was an experience that I will never forget. Everyday going to the hospital, I didn’t know what would be, what my patients would be like. Like many other hospitals around the world we were not equipped to handle what was going on. We were short on basic protective equipment, supplies, and staffing. We were put into situations where we did not have N95 masks to wear while caring for COVID patients, and forced to wear the same mask until it was visibly soiled. I, along with many other nurses got sick with the virus, but that did not stop us. We returned to work to continue to treat those that needed it. We filled the role of family members, friends, and advocates during a time when visitors were not allowed in the hospital. We were forced to become a specialty unit and take on patients that we were not trained to care for. Working on a COVID unit entailed putting our own lives at risk to care for and provide treatment for others.
It has been so moving and inspiring to work somewhere where we all stand together to accomplish one goal, and that is what has kept me going through such hard times. Going to work everyday and working on the front lines is such an uplifting experience. Walking into the hospital each shift and seeing that we have not stopped doing our jobs, that the hospital staff keeps coming to care for others no matter what gets thrown our way. I went through a time period of 5 months without being able to return home to Chicago to see any family members. We were put in a situation where we had to stay in New York and make Pesach and Shavuos alone. After recovering from COVID and returning back to work, the nights in the hospital became longer and more exhausting. But the support system that formed between myself and my co-workers has created an everlasting bond between us all, a connection that will certainly last a lifetime. The support I received and continue to receive from family, friends, the random people that sent food donations, and the entire Jewish community has been so encouraging and motivating during such a challenging time.