Traveling nurse shares experience from front line in fight against COVID-19

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 6:42 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As COVID-19 cases spike across the U.S., staffing has become an even greater concern for hospitals. Many rely on outside help, like traveling nurses, to make sure the need is met for growing numbers of patients. Newton-based nurse Lashay Rhodes is among the traveling nurses who’ve mobilized to make a difference where needed.

“I believe when God gives us a skill, we are supposed to utilize that skill to the best of our ability,” she said.

Rhodes said that’s why she decided to leave her job in Newton and become a traveling nurse.

“The least I can do is give what I have,” she said. “That’s what drew me to the first opportunity during COVID.”

That first opportunity took her to New York, a COVID-19 hotspot where she didn’t know anyone.

“My first experience in New York was very disorganized, very scattered, lots of frustration, lots of unknowns, lots and lots of loss,” she said.

From a healthcare worker’s perspective on combatting COVID-19, Rhodes said it can take a toll on mental and physical health.

“You’re alone. During these assignments, you’re alone,” she said. “You don’t go out of your room unless you’re going to work, you don’t have visitors, you don’t have anything. It’s just like you’re a patient without symptoms.”

She said her experience as a traveling nurse changed her.

“I’m not the same person, honestly,” she said. “I’m very different than I was a year ago, some good ways, and some not so good ways.”

Since her first assignment in the spring in New York, Rhodes has completed two assignments in Texas. She is now back in Kansas and is open stepping back onto the front line for patients close to home.

“I don’t know that I’ll go out right away, but I definitely will be doing something along the lines of crisis nursing in our community until we can get things stabilized,” Rhodes said.

Seh said she feels obligated to help as much as she can.

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