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One nurse's commitment to healing victims of COVID-19


Last updated 5/21/2020 at 5:48am

I am a registered nurse with a little over two years of emergency room experience. After hearing the grim news about how hard New York was hit by the virus, I wanted to help but wasn’t sure how. I had just started a new job, and I had a family to care for. I was also clear on the other side of the United States in Southern California.

One morning on my way to work, I found myself overwhelmed by my desire to help and called my husband and asked, “Would you think I’m crazy if I went to New York to help out with the COVID crisis?”

His response, “No, I wouldn’t think you’re crazy. I kind of saw this coming.”

In less than two hours after making that phone call, I received a text message from a recruiter at Loyal Source with information about a contract with Veterans Affairs in New York. To me, it was not a coincidence but a divine intervention that I could not ignore. A week later I was at the VA Hospital in Manhattan reporting for duty.

Though I have only worked in the emergency department, I was quickly assigned to the intensive care unit to help with the sickest of the COVID-19 patients. Though quite the learning curve at first, in a matter of days the unfamiliar became my new normal, and I am now part of the COVID-19 care team.

Everyone here at the VA has been so kind, patient and grateful for my help as well as the help of all the other agency nurses. Though they tell me how brave I am to choose to leave my family to come and help, to me they are the real heroes – as they are the ones who were there from the beginning and continue to show up every day.

Though our unit has had its share of losses, I have witnessed for myself a few recoveries since being here. Though slow, we are making progress – and I am so very grateful to be a part of the dynamic team of medical providers that is committed to doing all they can to heal the victims of this tragic virus.

LeAnn Gerst, RN

Temecula Valley Hospital


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