As an Emergency Department nurse, Mercer University alumna Mica David says she “runs toward chaos, not away from it.”
So when she had the chance to leave her job and travel to New York to work as a crisis nurse in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she took it.
“I saw this as an opportunity to help my country with the skill set I have and learn how to do crisis management,” said David, a registered nurse who earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing in 2019.
Crisis nurses are deployed to COVID-19 hot spots to help meet nursing shortages. David is serving in the Emergency Department of NewYork Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. She’ll be there 13 weeks, until mid-July.
Each night she works is different.
“Some nights are tame, and some nights there are a lot of sick patients,” said David. “Per staff here, the numbers at the very peak of this in New York were horrible. There were several back-to-back intubations and codes.”
As of May 14, New York reported over 186,000 cases of COVID-19, including nearly 50,000 hospitalizations and over 20,000 deaths.
David has seen her share of COVID-19 patients in the Emergency Department. To protect herself, she wears N95 and surgical masks throughout her shift. She also wears a scrub cap and goggles. David puts on a gown before she enters the rooms of patients with the novel coronavirus.
“As a nurse, I’m always concerned for my safety, especially being an ED nurse,” she said. “But I take the proper measures to alleviate those concerns.”
The experience has reinforced her purpose as a nurse.
“I became a nurse to restore health and help people in their most vulnerable times,” David said. “I remember my ‘why’ and why I chose to pack up my things and accept this New York assignment.”
David previously worked as a nurse in the Emergency Department of WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. At first it was challenging adjusting to a new hospital in a new state with difference policies. But “now I think I am in a good flow,” she said.
The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing helped prepare David for where she is today.
“I learned how to adapt to environments there, and I also developed critical thinking there that I was able to hone at my home hospital.”
She said she is thankful for her Mercer family, who have checked on her and sent care packages.
“It’s great to come from a school that extends their support beyond graduation,” she said.