COVID-19 Nursing Voices
I’m currently enrolled in Jefferson’s nurse anesthesia DNP program, and my sister, Alison, works at a major New York City medical center as an RN in the cardiothoracic ICU. She has been strong and brave throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve always shared a close bond. Alison inspired me to use my skills and background and head to New York to help. Her hospital accepted me into a six-week travel nursing assignment for an ICU position.
My first week on the job was the most intense in terms of patient-to-nurse ratio and acuity of these patients. They assigned me to the “OR ICU,” a new ICU created exclusively for COVID-19 patients since all the traditional ICUs had soared to 200 percent capacity. I had three patients to myself in one OR suite, each person had an anesthesia machine as their ventilator. Fortunately, I’m familiar with this equipment from Jefferson’s program and clinical practice. I had over 30 drips to manage, and each patient was on CRRT, which is continuous dialysis.
I’m proud of myself and know that I will look back at this time and say I did what I could when I could.
It was unlike any nursing work I’ve ever done, but this humbling, yet rewarding, experience has made me a better provider. I took care of some of the sickest COVID patients, all while keeping their families updated on their status through FaceTime.
During this pandemic, I overcame my fears and anxieties about working in another city with unfamiliar people. I’m proud of myself and know that I will look back at this time and say I did what I could when I could. I believe I made a difference.
Caitlin Tyrell ’21 is a student in Jefferson’s nurse anesthesia DNP program.