One Year Later: Catching up with local nurses who traveled at height of pandemic

Just about a year ago, 15 nurses from Brevard County stepped up to lend a hand at Morton Hospital near Boston. These warriors from Rockledge Regional Medical Center were there to fight the good fight.

"It really felt like a war zone when we went up there because everyone was in PPE which you’re not used to seeing on a floor," said nurse Jennifer Nelson.

Nelson had no idea how long this COVID battle would last.

"We were going to have some furloughing here because I do elective surgeries and so for me, I was like I really can’t sit at home," said Nelson.

She stayed in Massachusetts for eight weeks to help during the peak of their COVID cases, and even now, months later, it’s hard for her to talk about it.

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"To be able to explain what we actually encountered with the type of cases that we saw up there, if you haven’t seen it, you can’t fathom it."

"It was very emotional, very tiring. You were trying to explain to patients what was happening but you yourself didn’t know either," said COVID ICU nurse Makenzie Baldry.

Baldry understands what Nelson went through. Originally from Colorado, Baldry traveled to New York for six weeks when COVID peaked there.

"They were turning conference rooms into the ICUs, the library, using every resource, every nurse that they had."

In August, she came to Rockledge in Brevard County to help. She’s been there ever since.

"I felt like…I was called to help. I really felt the need out there.

The patients felt the need too, for nurses like Nelson and Baldry to be willing to give up life at home and travel to the frontlines.

 "I’ve never felt this way as a nurse in my career."

"I think I feel more confident in the nursing that I do."

Looking back a year later, they know the lives they saved were worth every sacrifice they made.

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