YCP Nursing alumna living in San Diego traveled to New York City to help with COVID-19 outbreak
Kathleen Ransom Hase ’08 was among hundreds of medical professionals deployed to Manhattan as the COVID-19 outbreak left New York City hospitals overwhelmed with patients. The York County native has been living in San Diego the past several years working as a CRNA under her own private corporation. But as elective surgeries in California were canceled earlier in the year, Hase found herself wondering how she could help with COVID-19 response needs.
That’s when one of the companies she contracts with decided to create a rapid response team. Those medical professionals who now had empty calendars were able to sign up to visit cities where hospitals were overwhelmed with cases. Within six days of being asked if she would go, Hase was deployed to Manhattan. It happened so quickly that she didn’t even know where exactly her assignment would be until the day after she arrived in the city. From April 5 to 19, she stayed with hundreds of other healthcare workers at the Marriott in Times Square.
“There were a lot of concerns from my friends and family who didn’t want me to go,” Hase says. “I felt I had to go. I wanted to use my skills to provide some reprieve for the staff there. There’s so much stress that comes with working in that environment.”
Making an impact
Hase spent her 12-hour shifts providing nurse support. Sometimes that was helping with resuscitations, giving vasoactive medications, doing endotracheal tube exchanges, sedating patients for bedside procedures, placing central and arterial lines, or even taking over patient care so a staff nurse could take a few minutes to update patient charts or take a break. Working previously as an ICU nurse, she relied on her experience to make quick decisions and push through long hours.
She’d return to the Marriott after a busy day, where she and other medical workers were provided two meals a day. The hotel also used UV lighting to decontaminate shoes. And perhaps the biggest help to getting through those two weeks was that Hase was able to have her husband in the City with her.
Despite being in New York City for what she considers a short time, Hase says she built strong bonds with the nurses she met in Manhattan. While she hoped to make an impact on the lives of patients during her time there, she says, it was hard to see the progress of patients who were sick for such a long time. Instead, she found satisfaction in knowing she was supporting fellow nurses who put so much into their work.
The bigger picture
Back in California, Hase is getting back to work as the backlogged surgeries get rescheduled. Now that she’s seen the COVID-19 outbreak up close, she is a lot less fearful of her own interactions at work and in her personal life. She’s also taken the time to video chat with York College nursing students about her experience.
“I’m starting to look at the bigger picture and find the things that are really important to me,” Hase says. “I’ve been sharing my experience with others in Southern California, and I hope to bring support and peace of mind to health workers here who are afraid.”