Keeping Up with the Krew: Erika
Erika, a registered nurse, has been a dialysis nurse for over a decade and a mother-baby nurse for almost four years. When Krucial was founded, Erika was one of the first Reservists to deploy.
Erika’s first deployment with us was for hurricane response, but she did not stop there. She continued to deploy with Krucial in various roles for our COVID-19 deployments. Her most recent assignment was at a shelter site as a nurse manager.
Erika has been a dialysis nurse for 10 years and a mother-baby nurse for almost four years. Her skill set emphasizes the importance of all types of nursing for emergency deployments. However, one’s classification and specialty versatility are not the most key factor for us – passion is a huge part of our mission and Erika has that in full.
“First of all, I [have a passion for] working hurricane [deployments]. When you see people close-up, it gives you a different perspective than seeing it on TV. When I went to do my first hurricane [deployment], I never saw destruction like that before. I have only seen Hurricane Katrina on TV, or you see it on the Weather Channel. [But helping the mission], that is when I really got to meet people and go out,” said Erika.
When COVID-19 hit at the beginning of 2020, Erika did not tell several extended family members that she was leaving because of the danger that loomed from the unknown of the pandemic. However, her family was not surprised when they found out she went to the front lines.
“I mean, New York was scary. My mom said, ‘As soon as I saw it on the news, I knew you were wanting to go.’ My mom always calls and says, ‘Where are you at now?’ She was in Philadelphia watching the news and she said nurses were coming to New York to help with COVID and she said, ‘I bet you my daughter is there.’ She didn’t know, but she just knew that I was there,” Erika said.
In addition to helping others, Erika talked about the friendships that form between Reservists as they start to go on different deployments together. There is an unexplainable instant bond that forms between Krucial Krew members in the middle of disastrous situations.
“I have met people on deployments, and we sit there, and we talk and at the end of the day everybody just wants the same [thing],” Erika said. “Just go home to their families at the end of the night and [we] want to do the best job that they can. Especially in New York, I just met so many people. It has made me a more well-rounded nurse. I can say I can sit down and have a conversation with anybody.”
While her schedule is packed, Erika plans to continue to deploy and dreams of taking her nursing international when possible. Until then, Erika will be putting her skills to work as she is currently working towards getting her master’s degree in nursing education.
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