Being a nurse in the cardiac surgical intensive care unit in Denver is not for the faint of heart. Tenley Barr’s night shifts there are filled with caring for one or two critically ill patients, administering their medications and monitoring their vital signs. These days Barr is working in the COVID ICU at NYU Langone Health in Manhattan. While the degree of care needed by COVID-19 patients is similar to those in the cardiac surgical ICU, the experience of working daily with COVID-19 patients is vastly different.
Barr ‘11 describes her days of caring for COVID-19 patients as “busy
and intense,” as she administers seven to 10 medications, watches
various monitors and machines in the rooms, and handles basic patient
care requirements. Challenges come in the form of lack of resources and
lack of time, which Barr said has made formulating specific treatment
plans practically impossible. The resources needed to keep COVID-19
patients even relatively stable are strained, she said, as is the
ability of ICU nurses to give the meticulous care that they are
accustomed to providing. Then, she said, the sheer number of critically
ill COVID-positive patients in the ICU is overwhelming. All of this
results in shifts that are spent racing from one emergency to the next
trying to keep people alive, Barr said.
Read more about Tenley on our blog.