AUSTIN, Texas - New York still leads the country with more than 168,000 COVID-19 cases. One Central Texas nurse traveled up north to help and has been working at a Bronx medical center for the past month.
“You hear a lot of overhead pages. Several times a night you'll hear the overhead page ‘attention, attention, attention, rapid response team’, ‘respiratory’ and, you know, patients are still dying here every day,” said Teresa Jane Jimenez.
Jimenez has been a nurse for 23 years and is from Pflugerville, but has been working at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx for the past month.
“I lucked out. I'm actually working in my specialty area, which is mother-baby postpartum,” said Jimenez.
Just because she was assigned to work there, doesn't mean she never cares for COVID-19 patients.
“We do have patients on the unit that are COVID positive. I still have to wear the full mask and the face shield and the gloves and the gown and shoe covers. You can't let your guard down even for a minute,” she said.
Jimenez says sometimes they'll even double up on the PPE her and her fellow nurses wear. Sometimes wearing two pairs of masks and gloves at one time.
Its a new normal she says she's come to accept. She says she hasn't even seen the worst of it, but has heard stories from other nurses.
“I ride the charter bus with several nurses that work in the ICU and the ER. [They see] sometimes as many as eight deaths on a single shift,” said Jimenez.
Jimenez says the overhead pages she used to hear on the regular have lessened and she mentions things seem to be getting better.
She says New York and its people have made her feel valued. “They're just they're so appreciative. When [patients] find out that I'm traveling from Texas, it's like, thank you so much for coming to help us,” she said.
Jimenez has extended her contract and will stay in NY for another three weeks, but she recently told the medical center she would stay until mid-July if needed.
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