The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has altered day-to-day life around the globe. It has forced us to think and behave differently than we are used to doing. Social distancing guidelines, as uncomfortable as they may be for some, are in place for the greater good of each one of our communities. Since we are all facing the same challenge together, a sense of community and “in-this-togetherness” inevitably permeates.
That sense of community and togetherness is felt by Skyla Nieves, a recruiter for AHS Staffing and current Emergency Room Nurse on the front lines of COVID-19. Nieves has been a nurse for over a decade, serving in many roles during that time; first as a CNA, then a nurse manager, and later, a traveling nurse. Nieves, even after making the leap to become a recruiter, has remained active as a nurse.
“It’s been a beautiful thing as a healthcare community to watch us come together to advocate for one another and advocate for our patients. It’s been really a beautiful thing to see nurses come together and be there for one another during this time.”
While feeling that sense of community, there is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll, and the hospital in which she serves is no exception.
“If I had to describe it in a word, it’s been heartbreaking.”
That feeling of heartbreak, as Nieves describes it, is met with a sense of gratitude. Hospital policies regarding visitors can vary, but for the most part – and at Nieves’ facility – visitors are not allowed leaving nurses and other caretakers as the sole source of comfort for the unfortunate victims of COVID-19.
“You end up being the last person they see as they take their last breath. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also an honor to be there for them in this time of need when they need someone to comfort them.”
When things get tough on the front lines, Nieves recalls why she became a nurse in the first place: to help people in need.
“I do this to help my community. I do it because I love my patients. I cannot, in this time of need, turn my back on that. I believe I was put in this position for a reason,” Nieves said.
“I have to believe, and I have to have faith. I can’t imagine sitting at home and not being there for my community and my fellow nurses … Whenever you’re called upon in a time of need, you answer.”
When Nieves is not inside the emergency room walls, she is impacting patient outcomes as a recruiter. Her drive to serve traveling nurses and be their advocate comes from the same drive that pushed her to be a nurse: to ensure patients receive necessary care.
“I wanted to be a recruiter for the same reason I wanted to be a nurse manager. I always wanted to be that manager that everyone wanted to work for … that nursing manager who made everyone feel appreciated and valued,” Nieves said.
“I wanted to be a recruiter for the same reason, because I know what it’s like to be a traveler and feel like you’re out there and nobody has your back … I want to be able to serve the nurse that’s serving us.”
Nieves spoke positively about the direction of the situation in her hospital, referencing a flattened curve, an improving PPE situation, and an overwhelming majority of patients recovering and being able to leave the hospital.
Skyla is an inspiration to all of us here at AHS, and we are honored to be able to work alongside her as she continues to impact lives daily!