NEW YORK — “It’s definitely hard. It’s hard right now.”
“You can’t hold on to it or it’s going to show in your work. I just try to let the emotions out and then continue to give the best care that I can to my patients,” said nurse Roshonda Turner.
“It just looked so chaotic. It was doors open. It was drips inside of the patients’ rooms, outside of the patients’ rooms. I mean nurses were scrambling. It was a lot of chaos,” added Mercedes Smith.
These two Memphis nurses didn’t hesitate to help those hurting.
“I’m tired. I work 7 days a week for 12 hours straight so lack of sleep is there, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Each day for the last three weeks, Turner has started her morning at 5:30 a.m. By 6 a.m. she’s on a 45 minute bus ride to a hospital in the Bronx. An hour later, she’s covered in protective equipment and ready to work.
She never gets to interact with her patients because all of them are sedated and on ventilators. But no matter what, she continues to talk to them, urging them to fight.
“It’s very hard emotionally. There are days where I just want to cry but I know I have to stay strong for the patients because at the end of the day, we’re all they have.”
Smith is working 12 hour shifts throughout the night in Brooklyn’s intensive care unit.
“This is real. I’m seeing it first hand. People are dying. People are being intubated for long periods of times. They’re not being able to come off of that vent. They’re being trached.”
“One of my ladies I’ve had since last week was extubated, so that means the tube was taken out, but she spoke Russian so there was a language barrier. I had one of the members of the staff that spoke Russian kind of translate for me, kind of see what her needs were, and she wanted to call home.”
Home is something so far away for both of these nurses, but if you ask them there’s no place they would rather be right now.