“They know it’s scary, but they never hesitate. It’s about the patients,” Renee DeWald, Clinical Nurse Manager of the 6 North and 5 East floors at Roswell Park, says of the staff on 6N, the designated floor for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. The nurses who staff the nine-bed floor care for patients who are among our most vulnerable: the floor is outfitted with a HEPA air filtration system and other specialty equipment to serve their needs as severely immunocompromised patients. The nurses are accustomed to seeing a wide variety of illnesses – patients recovering after bone marrow transplants; leukemia and lymphoma patients; and those who require heavy medicines and attentive care. What they didn’t expect, however, were the challenges they would face as a small staff, especially when COVID-19 began to come to Western New York.
The team works together exceptionally well. They are bonded by their love and respect for each other, their passion for our patients, and their love for Roswell – and they have bent their heads into the wind of this challenge admirably and humbly. In recent weeks, there were times the staff encountered incredibly difficult situations. However, they’ve built an amazing support system for one another. They bake for each other, lean on one another when times get hard, and work together to provide the best possible care to patients.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident these patients would require even more special attention than other patients, and the staff of 6N rose to the challenge. “There was never a moment where they said ‘I want out,’” says DeWald, adding these nurses ask only for information on how to protect themselves. The team has learned the needs of COVID patients and sought out the advice of Roswell’s Infectious Diseases team to ensure these patients receive top-notch care. They have developed a manual to help demystify the challenges of care for COVID. Anything they learn, they share with one another to improve for the patients.
DeWald says it shows “nurses are going to do what they have to do in any given situation, and that’s what they did.” These nurses don’t have a day in which they aren’t giving 100% to their patients. “It’s really amazing to see. They rise to the occasion gracefully, and I am proud of them every day,” DeWald says. We are, too!
The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. To read the latest information on Roswell Park’s response and find additional resources, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.Learn More