Alisa Greene, VITAS RN, had been following COVID-19 developments on the news for weeks when she got a call from a nurse who had traveled to New York City to lend a hand. Alisa naturally felt a duty to join her in the battle, and within a matter of hours called her boss, scheduled time off, and said goodbye to her husband and two children in Columbus, Ohio. The next day, she found herself walking into the ED of a Brooklyn hospital, facing a grim reality that news reports failed to capture. This would be her combat field for the next 10 days, but Alisia was motivated and knew she had a role to fulfill and lives to save.
She worked long, chaotic shifts, first in the ED, and then in the ICU. Many of her patients were homeless individuals who spoke only Spanish, and no interpreters were available to assist. Others were rendered unable to communicate by the severity of their symptoms alone. On her hardest shift, Alisa lost six patients. But on others, every patient pulled through. The staff learned to celebrate these small victories when they could.
Alisa tested negative for COVID-19 after her time in New York. Back in Ohio, she spent two weeks in self-quarantine and came out healthy–and with a new perspective on life. “The one thing that my experience reinforced over and over again is that life is so precious, and tomorrow is absolutely not guaranteed,” Alisa said.