CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA– At the beginning of the pandemic, resources were sparse across the country. This is the story about a group of nurses that went from helping children to assisting the children at heart. With less patients, Children’s hospital made the decision to consolidate some units and closed one unit. This decision freed up nurses and a day later, the hospital started to receive calls from other hospitals asking for help with aiding patients.
Amanda Thibodeaux is a nurse at Children’s Hospital and loves to help children. She says, “I think most of us are specifically passionate about working with the children because they are so happy and wild and full of life, but all of us became nurses to help anyone that is in need. It is a part of who we are as nurses.”
Jamie Wiggins is the Senior Vice President at Children’s Hospital New Orleans and remembers the day a sea of nurses went above and beyond to answer the call service made by a coronavirus pandemic. “I was in the Incident Command Center that day. I asked the nurses if they would be willing to go to our adult hospitals and all of them in the room said yes,” says Wiggins.
As the child nurses entered the doors of hospitals around the city, they were entering into a different world. Brittney Baptist is one of the over a hundred nurses that went to assist and says “working with those patients, this was tough and I never had seen anything like this before. It kind of turned your world upside down and I had never worked in a facility before.”
Jessica Griffin is nurse manager and says, “I had been away from the bedside for a couple of years and the right thing to do was to step up outside of my pediatric nurse comfort zone and go to New Orleans East Hospital and help those patients.”
Other nurses reflected on how their normal passions back at Children’s hospitals to inspire them. Normally child nurses treat sick children with the goal of sending them back to their parents and grandparents. The coronavirus on average has affected adults more severely than children; now the nurses were experiencing the mirror image of that. “I took care of a particular patient, who had recently had a baby and I knew that she needed to get better because that little girl needed her and I needed to do whatever it took to get her home to her baby because now it’s not the kids that need the help, it’s the parents,” says Heather Billiot.
Make sure you tune in to WGNO everyday this week for new stories about the nurse heroes of New Orleans.