Hi! I just finished my first travel and COVID assignment in NYC and wanted to share my experience. I am happy to say that I am moving out of NYC and going to LA for my next travel assignment.
As a first time traveller, the hardest part for me was getting acquainted to a different hospital, different floor, different charting system, different policies, and different staff. It’s just like starting any other job except in this situation, you don’t get months of orientations, just days. You have to quickly adapt to your new environment so be prepared to ask questions and do it! For me, once I figured out what a normal shift looks like and how to contact the doctors, where everything is, and how to pull meds, I felt comfortable. I’m used to working on a fast-paced and busy environment so I quickly adapted.
When I first started in May, NYC was the center of the pandemic and it was CRAZY. I had up to 8 patients and most of them are Covid positive or a person under investigation, so the results were pending. I still had to treat them as positive until their results come back as negative so that meant wearing full PPE for the whole shift. My specialty is stepdown tele where I am used to having a max of 4 patients so having 7-8 patients was definitely rough on me starting out in a completely different hospital where you know nothing lol. Stepdown is a higher level of care than medical surgical but not as critical as stepdown. Stepdown patients are still considered critical care and require close monitoring as well. Telemetry means that they are are on a continuous cardiac monitor and that someone, usually a monitor tech, is watching to see if there are many changes in heart rate or heart rhythm.
Over the weeks as I gotten used to the floor and got my routine down, the number of Covid cases in the hospital did decrease but that means my floor (besides the ICU) became the only floor that has positive Covid patients. My floor turned into a Covid floor so it was constant fear that I was going to catch Covid. Thankfully, I had full PPE which consists of a hazmat jumpsuit, gown, N95, goggles, face shield, and I had a surgical cap to put on top. The PPE made me so hot and if you’re a nurse, you’re constantly on your feet and running around. The N95s definitely made my skin rough, gave me some breakouts, and left a little scar but thankfully, I used First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream to help with these problems.
Overall, I had a great experience. I love meeting new people and seeing what other hospitals do. I learned how to improvise with what I had and learned new things along the way. I did get tested for Covid a couple of times and I am happy to say I survived the pandemic in NYC while working a pandemic without getting Covid 🙂