Rebecca Pershan, ’12
Registered Nurse, Mt. Sinai Health System
We were the last floor to become a COVID unit since our floor is generally a pediatric medical/surgical floor. We don’t have the equipment or specialized training to deal with the sickest of the sick children. As a result, we were used as a more stable floor for children with COVID. Since COVID was so new the floor was a bit chaotic in the beginning. Policies were constantly changing, and coming into work you just never knew what to expect or where you would be placed. We were helping out on other floors in the hospital, so most shifts we were floating some of our staff to other units. As time went on, we definitely had a better grip on how to deal with everything, and it became more familiar and the new normal.
I don’t think most of us were able to process our emotions until things calmed down a bit. In the medical field, and especially as nurses, we are taught to go with the flow and deal with whatever comes on our shift. So that’s what we all did. In the thick of COVID, I was so grateful for all my friends and family, and there was an overwhelming flood of love and support from people that I knew well and more peripherally. Everyone just wanted to know how they could help. Some of my best friends sent food to the hospital for a shift of mine, which meant the world to me. Being able to lean on my coworkers and all the people that reached out really kept me going during this very isolating time. Never underestimate your potential impact on others even though it may seem minimal. Every single person who reached out to me during this time had a direct impact on the care I was able to provide for my patients and their families.