Keeping Up with the Krew: Tricia

By: Courtney Holmes

Tricia, a medical-surgical nurse, found herself furloughed in April 2020, as elective procedures (non-emergency surgeries) came to a screeching halt in the aftermath of the United States lockdown. In dire need of work, Tricia’s home hospital manager suggested reaching out to Krucial Rapid Response for possible job placement. She did not know anything about COVID-19 yet, nor had she seen a COVID patient when she joined the Krucial Krew but described the onboarding process as fluid. 

While getting to speak to a Krucial representative seemed like a feat, she was lucky enough to get through the phone lines in 45 minutes. In less than 48 hours, Tricia was on her way to battle the virus in New York.  

“The thing that impacted me the most was getting on a bus to a strange place, with strange people, to a strange hospital that you have never been in…then you get to the floor to be given your assignments, and it was like you knew these people forever. Everyone worked so well, and the team spirit. It was just amazing,” Tricia said. 

While the circumstances in New York at the start of the pandemic created a fast-paced culture at the hospital, Tricia vividly remembers multiple stories of staff coming together to help each other. If a nurse saw another nurse struggling with their assignment, numerous people would jump in to help knock out medication passes or check on everyone’s patients.  

A Krucial nurse named Susan stuck out to her. One shift Tricia’s patient load seemed like “Mission Impossible,” then Susan came out of nowhere to assist her. They had never met before when she showed up to help in the middle of the shift. The pair barely had any time to speak but worked in unison as if they had worked together for decades, leaving Tricia with the satisfaction of a job well done but also a new friend. To this day, Tricia is still in touch with Susan along with many of the other nurses she met on deployment.

During the time she spent in New York, Tricia also learned many important lessons from working in the midst of a pandemic. One teaching moment, in particular, stood out among all the rest.

One night while Tricia was working, her fellow coworkers were discussing solutions for a patient’s heart rate that was stuck between 120-140 beats per minute. This situation caused Tricia to look at the overall condition of the patient. 

Tricia immediately made time to help this patient, grabbing supplies while simultaneously recruiting as many people as possible to assist her. They did everything they could to clean the patient up and make them feel as comfortable as possible. Within an hour of doing this, the patient’s heart rate was in the 80s. 

“It goes to show, a little TLC can work wonders,” Tricia said. She reiterated the importance of laying eyes on every patient no matter what you read in the chart or how overwhelming the shift may be; expounding on how diligent and analytical care is the difference between saving a life or losing one. 

Tricia served in the fifth wave of Krucial Staffing support in New York for 23 days. While her spirit was eager to keep going, Tricia knew it was time to take a step back and go home to her family for a well-deserved break. 

In Summer 2020, she left her family again to serve in Texas. As more treatments rolled out to help heal COVID patients, Tricia experienced first-hand administering these medicines. She watched many patients recover from COVID-19, but many others battled for their lives. Given that no visitors were allowed to see COVID patients, she recalled many moments of desperation in her patients’ eyes stepping in to comfort them in place of their families.

“I watched patients struggle to breathe. In those moments, I just had to stop the tasks I was trying to do and be there for them, reminding them to fight,” Tricia said.

She served two more deployments in 2020 all over Texas. Tricia was in the middle of an assignment in December 2020, when her mother unexpectedly went to the hospital. By December 28th, Tricia’s mother was in respiratory distress. 

At that moment, Tricia, the caregiver, needed someone to care for her. She says the onsite staff went into overdrive mode to get her home to her family quickly.

The assignment placed her in the middle of Texas, far away from airports, making it difficult to get home quickly. The Krucial Onsite Representatives volunteered to drive her an extra two hours to get her to the airport. One of the crisis counselors on site talked Tricia through her panic in the hours leading up to her rapid departure from home.

Unfortunately, by the time she got to the airport, her mother had passed. 

Tricia was very close to her mother. She left deployment that day to go back home to her family immediately. In the eight months, she was with Krucial, she successfully completed three deployments in a variety of states. 

Due to infection control but also scheduling, time with family is difficult or non-existent. They spend time away from their families, sometimes missing critical moments.

Where many would have looked at the situations Tricia faced with bitterness, she does not. She met hundreds of people on her deployment who couldn’t be with their loved ones in the COVID unit. Tricia understands the hardships many face in their life, but she continues to have a positive outlook on life. Her passion for others is not something to take for granted. Tricia worked hard during those eight months to create financial options for her family and herself which allowed her to grieve her mother for months where others may have had that opportunity. 

Krucial Rapid Response is honored to have such kind-hearted and hard-working Krucial Krew members. Want to nominate someone to be featured? Please reach out to us at social_media@krucialrr.org.

“"The thing that impacted me the most was getting on a bus to a strange place, with strange people, to a strange hospital that you have never been in…then you get to the floor to be given your assignments, and it was like you knew these people forever. Everyone worked so well, and the team spirit. It was just amazing.”

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