Emergency nurses still showing true grit even as COVID-19 hospitalizations slow

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - COVID-19 hospitalizations may be down for now, but emergency nurses at Memorial Hospital can’t slow down.

“You have to be someone who can do ABC’s - airway, breathing and circulation - very fast and assess very fast, and actually be able to take care of the patients still next door and one next door and the one next door,” said Margaret Shore, Memorial’s emergency services manager. “It’s continuous.”

The task has been daunting.

“This emergency room has continued to see trauma, strokes, heart attacks, while seeing COVID, having hurricanes while having COVID,” Shore added.

However, there is some feeling of relief - at least for now.

“We feel like there may be another wave coming, so we do want to be ready,” said staffing coordinator Stephanie Shirley. “But, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air right now.”

There are about 120 technicians and nurses working at Memorial Hospital’s emergency department. This year’s theme for Emergency Nurses Week is “Made with Grit,” but Shore has additional descriptions.

“Empathetic, compassionate, tenacious, courageous,” she said.

Trauma coordinator and educator Catherine Tyrney admitted there was a time when she wanted to walk away, but the nurses themselves brought her back.

“And on the day that I thought I can’t do this anymore, their inspiration, their courage ... I said I can,” she said. “One more … one more day.”

Here the team is a family. They come together every day in the difficult times and in times of celebration. An honor of thanks from patients and families, called the Daisy Award, recently given to a nurse was celebrated by everyone.

“This family was so proud, there was just a spontaneous group hug that happened,” Tyrney said. “And that is the definition of this crew.”

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