Keeping Up with the Krew: Sheila

By: Courtney Holmes

Sheila was a natural when it came to math – subtracting, adding, multiplying, and dividing numbers easily in her head. She figured her talent in arithmetic would lead to a career in pharmacy, administrating medication to sick people behind a counter and plexiglass shield. Instead, life guided Sheila into a different path altogether, one centered around a more intimate relationship with her patients – life as a medical-surgical nurse. 

Sheila immigrated to the United States from Central Africa back in 2002, quickly noticing the positive impact healthcare workers have on their community. This is when she began her journey to pursue a career in the healthcare field, eventually earning her nursing degree and license in 2012.  

Finding her niche in the medical surgical unit, Sheila has gained an ability to foster personal relationships with her patients through direct interactions. After gaining a few years of experience in a staff role, she began travel nursing. Sheila started accepting contracts all over the country, catching a contagious passion for travel nursing even before COVID-19 hit. 

“It’s so neat to help different people in different parts of the country. I want people to experience travel nursing, whether it’s with COVID or not, because it’s a chance to face your fears and help someone else besides yourself,” Sheila said.

Sheila’s travel nurse experience taught her how to adapt, confirming her view that change is a good thing. This mindset made Sheila open to new opportunities, so when one of her friends introduced her to Krucial Rapid Response in the Summer of 2020, she dived right in. After deploying with Krucial for 18 months, she describes emergency response as ‘made for her.’ 

Her travel experience before the pandemic translated well to her time spent on emergency deployment. While Krucial requires a certain level of experience for most assignments, Sheila’s discernment she earned from travel nursing made her a force to be reckoned with when it came to patient care.

“When you are taking care of patients, you are taking care of them based on their culture. It’s not about me, it’s about them and I’m always thinking about what I can do for them based on their background,” Sheila said.

Several moments stuck out in Sheila’s mind where she and the staff at the hospital did everything, they could to bring families together. 

“I put myself in my patient and family’s shoes, and it is so important for them and the patient to communicate whenever possible,” Sheila said.

COVID patients were not allowed to have guests for months to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Several devoted families wanted to make sure that their loved ones were taken off, even amid the chaos.

Sheila worked with her coworkers to help unite loved ones through the windows. During one deployment, several families set up camp outside with lawn chairs, letting their loved ones know they were not alone. Staff would move the beds, rearranging furniture and machines to provide patients with the best view of those who love them. 

Anytime Sheila had an opportunity to do something for a patient, she did it. She understood the value of boosting a patient’s mental health. To Sheila, the small things contribute to big wins, such as full recoveries, a better day, or a happier patient. 

Want to nominate someone to be featured? Please reach out to us at social_media@krucialrr.org  

"It's so neat to help different people in different parts of the country. I want people to experience travel nursing, whether it's with COVID or not, because it's a chance to face your fears and help someone else besides yourself."

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