NEW YORK, NY (WKRN) – A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University is among the healthcare workers on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brianne Knight is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital in Queens, New York. She graduated from MTSU IN 2017 and had been living in Texas before accepting a travel assignment in New York. That’s where she’s been caring for COVID-19 patients.
“I’m working in the ICU and it’s very different from where I’d come from in Houston, Texas,” Knight said. “I know the reason why I came but I don’t think I was mentally prepared when I got here and I don’t think I will ever be mentally prepared.”
New York has the most COVID-19 cases in the United States. According to the state health department, 141,754 have tested positive for the virus, 36,723 were hospitalized, and there were 10,290 confirmed deaths as of Thursday afternoon.
“An ICU nurse who oriented me for 10 minutes was admitted to the ICU yesterday [Wednesday]. It’s just staff that I work with on a day to day basis are starting to be admitted into the hospital,” Knight said. “There’s been 3 ER nurses who have died. I’ve witnessed a doctor die. It’s not something I think anybody would be mentally prepared for. It’s a lot. And that’s just staff. That’s not even including patients who tested positive and coming in last minute and dying in the ER because they don’t make it.”
She said another major challenge is the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE’s.
“I wore the same gown for a week – a week. That is another reason why healthcare providers are getting sick. Not only wearing the same N-95 masks, I was told my first day this N-95 mask is the only mask you’re going to get for the rest of your contract. My contract does not end until July – July. And I started in April,” Knight said. She added that she can only get a new mask if she intubates a patient or if her current mask rips.
With Tennessee working to lift COVID-19 restrictions, Knight encouraged residents in the state to continue staying home and practicing social distancing because people can spread the virus without having symptoms.