HOUSTON – One nurse practitioner from Spring knew she could do more to help communities in dire need of help during the COVID-19 pandemic. She decided to go to New York, one of the hardest-hit areas.
Elizabeth Condit, 32, said she knew a hospital needed her skills as the influx of patients overwhelmed the healthcare system. She flew into New York on April 1. She started working on the third day and has been working since.
She said she jumped into action because she knows what it feels like to be a moment of disaster. Her family experienced Hurricane Harvey. She said she wanted to bring healing: no matter the situation.
"It is to do what no one else can do, in a way that no one else can do it: that is to be a nurse," Condit said.
While also a wife and mother, Condit's heart inspired her to head to New York.
"After Harvey, knowing what it's like to have my city ravaged and being essentially picked up by those around you, was really, really deep for me," she said.
She said she travels to work every day. She takes a 45-minute bus ride from her hotel in Manhattan to the North Central Bronx Hospital. She said the hospital staff is exhausted, and that she has treated over 80 COVID-19 patients.
"It is not just the old. It is not just the sick. It is not just the people you expect it to be," Condit said. "I've had multiple patients come through in their 30′s. That's my age with no medical history. They weren't smokers or anything like that."
The hospital tries to be mindful of the personal protection equipment they use, she said.
"You have to gown up," Condit said. "You have to have to keep the N95 from being soiled. We would have a surgical mask on top of that. We have hairnets, gowns and gloves that we're putting on every time we're going in and taking off every time we're going out...to reduce the use of PPE."
Condit said a colleague's sister, who is also a nurse, contracted the virus from working.
"She was exposed to COVID and is now hospitalized," she said in tears. "And that's hard because it's something that very much for me could be a reality."
However, the calls and care packages from her 6-year-old son, supportive husband, friends, and family, Condit said she finds the strength to give her best to patients.
Condit said she tries her best to comfort isolated patients and keep their families up-to-date on their condition.
“We have this patient, and he’s not getting better, and he’s going to need to be intubated, so I told [the patient] to Facetime his family...and that was hard,” Condit said.