Before the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization had already designated 2020 as the year of the nurse in honor of the bicentennial of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Nurses are heroes in our fight against COVID-19. While most people shelter, under orders, away from the threat, they're running toward the virus. Siena nurses are risking their lives to save lives. Here are some of their stories.
Sam DePasquale '17 RN
New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital, New York City
"I’ve never been more exhausted, my feet have never hurt this bad, I’ve never sweat so much, but I’ve never been more proud to be a nurse. This pandemic is nowhere near its end, but I can promise that your nurses are doing everything they can.
Every night at 7:00 p.m. the great city of New York is in an uproar. Cheering, the banging of pots and pans...for a city that is known for its diversity, I’ve never seen so many people come together this way. It’s truly incredible. If I’m outside to hear it, I cry every time. The firefighters and police officers are making us feel like heroes, too. We’re all in this together, and I’m not just talking about the first responders; I’m talking about the human race as a whole."
Taylor Fadrowski RN, MSN '17
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
"I've been trained on how to put on, take off, and clean PPE whereas I would never have to do this before. There's a need for nurses to safely and properly transport COVID+ and PUIs (persons under investigation) for COVID-19 throughout the hospital for testing, admission to inpatient, or getting upgraded to a higher level of care.
I've been doing this for the past several weeks with the Emergency Department of the hospital in order to get the patients to the next phase/step of care. Training has evolved every day. I attended a four hour safety training on how to transport COVID-19 patients."
McKenzie Guy '17 RN, BSN
Upstate Medical University Hospital, Syracuse, NY
"I've had a ton of support from family and friends, even strangers. I've gotten many care packages and even received masks and gloves from friends. Everyone seems to be worried about us, but really appreciative.
Any of us healthcare workers wouldn't be telling the truth if we weren't a little apprehensive about COVID-19. Our exposure as nurses is far greater. However, I have faith in the system. I am proud to be a healthcare worker every day whether we are facing a pandemic or not. I feel for the patients who are sick, who can't have any visitors. The hospital is already a daunting place to be, let alone without family by your side."
Carina Possumato '19 RN
St. Peter's Hospital ICU, Albany
"Having learned and resonated with a calm and caring approach taught by being a part of Siena’s program, I have been able to teach these nervous floor nurses what they need to do to keep a patient alive, while being able to provide the best possible care with a positive outlook to these scared and vulnerable patients."
Sona Lynn Reed '19 RN, BSN
"I had a trying day yesterday. When I came home from work, I had a hard time winding down. My patient was a really sweet old man who is COVID positive on 30 liters of high flow. He is deaf, and he can read lips but that’s not helpful when wearing masks. He knows sign language and so do I, but wow, I remembered a lot more than I thought I did. I Facetimed his sister with him and we all talked. Helped him make a decision on being a DNR/DNI. His sister cried but she’s respecting him. He just wants to go when God is ready for him, but he hopes to recover.
He said thank you to me so many times…and blew me so many kisses. I just hope he pulls through. I just wish I could be his nurse until the end."
Emily Jones '20 RN
Burdett Birth Center located in Samaritan Hospital, Troy, NY
"Siena College has been a wonderful place for me. The nursing program is absolutely amazing. All the teachers are so helpful. The idea that Watson’s Caring Science is perfectly integrated throughout this program made this incredibly difficult time much more manageable."
"The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the importance of caring and compassion in nursing. Our Caring Science nursing curriculum at Siena College emphasizes this by teaching our nurses to bring their full authentic presence into the nurse-patient relationship. By learning to pause before entering a patient's room and centering, our nurses find a heart-centered approach to caring for not only their patient, but also their loved ones. These relationships are what sustain the profession of nursing. Our curriculum also stresses the importance for nurses to care for "self," which in normal circumstances is important, but now even more so. These stories from our front-line nurses and students made all of us in the Nursing Department extremely proud of the work they are doing to protect and care for our community."
Lisa Flack, D.N.S., director of nursing