Our NurseLife Heroes in Action - Interview with Grad Ellis R.
Ellis R. graduated in May 2018. He is a Neuro trauma ICU nurse in Florida. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ellis returned to his home state of New York to work in a hospital on a crisis assignment.
We interviewed Ellis when he returned from the crisis assignment in NYC and he shared his experience and words of encouragement to fellow and future nurses.
How did you feel when you arrived in NY?
Many feelings arose as I prepared to leave and arrive in NYC. I am originally from NY, so what I expected to hear and see was not remotely close to the NY I know. The moment I stepped out of the airport, no cars or people were in sight. The city that never sleeps was truly asleep.
What was it like working with nurses you have never met during a crisis?
Once I became familiar with the unit and the facility, it was nice to get to know other nurses on the unit. A lot were staff nurses but a majority were travel nurses from all around that came to help with the crisis.
How long were most shifts and what did they entail?
I worked 12 hours shifts, 5 days a week. I worked in the ICU where I had 3 to 4 patients, which is not a normal nurse to patient ratio, but in this crisis, we all had to do what was needed to care for every individual.
What was most moving about the experience or most memorable moment?
The entire experience is one to remember. From the moment I stepped foot out of the airport to the moment I left. The streets of NY were empty. Walking to and or from work, hearing the cheering and clapping echo through the buildings outside as people stood on their balconies to show their support to the frontliners.
How do you feel your training at Jersey College helped prepare you to be the nurse you are today?
My education at Jersey prepared me to set my goals to get me to where I am today. I had influential and supportive instructors that enabled me to learn and explore the proper avenues that lead me to my ongoing success.
Now that you are back in Tampa, will you be working as a nurse?
Yes, I still have my full-time job within an ICU at a trauma center. I intend to continue looking for travel assignments as it’s what I have always wanted to do as a nurse.
How has your trip to NY changed you?
I now see my true potential as a nurse. The sky is the limit and intend to share my compassion around the country.
What is your message to aspiring nurses?
My message to aspiring nurses is: don’t give up. Nursing school is tough. You will sacrifice your time, sleep, your families but, the endless opportunities will be your reward for all your hard work. There are many avenues that will open for you as a nurse that you may not even imagine. Focus on the goal, one day at a time.
Why did you choose to become a nurse?
I chose to become a nurse late in my twenties, after working for many different companies and doing different types of work. I realized that what I wanted to do was be part of something bigger. To make a difference in the world by helping others.
What is your message to all the nurses and medical professionals on the frontline?
I appreciate and respect my fellow nurses and medical professionals for continuing to do the work we do every day, even before this crisis. At a time, medical professionals were unacknowledged. We can all save the world one patient at a time.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you Jersey College for honoring me in the work that I do and for allowing me to represent as an alumni.
Thank you, Ellis! ❤️ We are SO PROUD of each and every one of our grads and students! You are all heroes in our eyes!