From the Front Lines: Traveling Nurse and COVID Responder Ashley Hudson

Aug 6, 2020

We don't just treat COVID patients… a lot of times they come in with other things… they come in with congestive heart failure… acute renal failure… they need dialysis. They just so happened to have COVID. So…the level of care is different. - Ashley Hudson

Ashley Hudson worked as a COVID responder in New York City this spring and is Miami now.  Approach and care in terms of dealing with the virus are changing.  Hudson spoke on the morning show about her work and what she and other medical professionals have learned along the way. 

I think as we move along, health care professionals are not as afraid of coronavirus and dealing with COVID as they were before. You know, before we got to New York, we just went through phases…we wore a gown and we wore gloves. Now we're to the point where we wear a face shields.  We wear N95s. And, we have seen how we can protect ourselves and not get infected versus before we had no idea what we were walking into, and that's always a scary thing for anyone in any situation that you're in.  [Today] You feel more confident caring for an individual, knowing that you can safeguard yourself and you can tell them ways to keep their family members safe - even if they are positive.

Covid patients often are alone in the hospital.  Without a family advocate, care process is atypical.   

…we are not just health care professionals.  We are "family" and we are there with you and we do different types of care depending on the individual – on what’s best for them.   It’s not just about health, it’s about mental and emotional support as well.    

Aromatherapy, music therapy, massage, intentional one-on one-conversation, facetiming, and assisting with phone calls provide much comfort during convalescence.  Nurses become the conduit between patients and the outside world. 

You can't speak on a vent... A lot of times patients are sedated or they let up on the sedation enough for them to be able to look around. So, you facetime and you talk to a family member and say, hey, I just want to let you know that we're thinking about you and I love you.  It means so much to have that type of connection…This is something different that we haven’t experienced… along with wellness, as far as treatment is concerned, you also have to treat the individual…Along the way we’ve learned how to take better care of our patients and ourselves.

COVID care can be exhausting.  Hudson takes extra precautions to ensure her own physical and mental health and her tactics may help all of us out as we navigate the pandemic...  she wears a mask when she's in public places, regularly re-applies hand sanitizer and practices social distancing.  After working a nursing shift,  she throws her work clothes in the washer when she walks in the door after a shift and disinfects her cell phone immediately.  She protects her mental health by limiteing time on social media, and taking quiet moments to stretch, practice yoga, meditate, and read. 

Thanks to Ashley and all the healthcare providers taking care of so many people struggling with this virus!  We are so grateful!!