Meet Jennifer F., Registered Nurse
The first week of April, something inspiring happened. We put up a post that received thousands of responses and messages of hope and aloha, and many heartfelt accounts of what is happening on the front lines as our ‘ohana is struggling through this worldwide pandemic. That day, we gave away shoes to the heroes in our communities, and we want to share some of those stories with you as we continue to send a big mahalo to those who are taking care of us all.
As a registered nurse at University Hospital in New Jersey, Jennifer F. has been working nonstop in the emergency department to help save the lives of those affected by COVID-19. Here is her story:
"I've been a registered nurse for 28 years. I've done nursing in all kinds of situations and environments. I can safely say that nothing like this pandemic has ever happened before. I always thought my days were crazy in the emergency department. But now, it's like bedlam. It's a real disaster zone. We are literally bursting at the seams with people lying on stretchers on both sides of the hall surrounding the nursing station. Patients are calling out or crying in pain and suffering. In some situations, it's the noise of struggle to survive. Underneath all the noise, shouting and alarms constantly going off in all directions, though there is an underlying sense of calm, direction and purpose. As a team of medical professionals from all walks of life and specialties, we are solely focused on saving people from dying. It's awe-inspiring to see my colleagues in action, and they inspire me every day. We walk in at 7 AM, we huddle to discuss the new directives for the day, and from that moment we step inside the emergency department to put on our face masks, face shields, protective barrier gowns and gloves - and we don't stop for one minute. There are no coffee breaks, no water, no toilet breaks and rarely, we get a substantial meal break. We go like mad, from one critical patient to the next, until 12 hours later we look up and find the faces of our replacements. From there, we have a short reprieve before we return and start again. Amidst all of this, we are afraid. We are afraid to get sick and die. We are afraid to pass the virus to or loved ones. We are saddened by the loss of some of our colleagues and worried about those that are sick and hospitalized. We are tired, but we keep returning to do it again. We have to be there for the sick and dying because no one else can do it. No family or visitors are allowed at this time so we are also comforting them and caring for them as if they were our own. We do our very best every day to make a difference in this life. We pray we will see a reprieve soon. There have been many individuals and businesses that have shown their outpouring of love and support for the work we do, and on behalf of all of us, we thank you because we couldn't do this alone. Mahalo."