SSM Health St. Anthony Nurses Begging Public To Take COVID-19 Seriously As ICU Fills

Tuesday, December 8th 2020, 6:15 pm
By: Erica Rankin

For the first time News 9 cameras were allowed into the ICU at SSM Health St. Anthony in Midtown.

“You have to get your head where it needs to be to face the day. It is challenging emotionally,” said Elain Richardson, the chief nursing officer. “Also, physically and mentally.”

The nurses walked our cameras through a day in the life which started with gearing up head to toe in PPE which takes five minutes or more.

“There is a lot of protective mechanisms and precautions we have to take,” said Richardson.

Then when finally dressed nurses and doctors are able to go into the ICU.

“We have everything set up outside of the room so that we can limit the time we are inside because we are exposed to a high viral load the whole time we are here,” said Stephanie Collier, a charge nurse.

They said the ICU is bursting at the seams every day and if there happens to be an open bed, it’s filled in no time.

The hardest part for the nurses was seeing patients die from the virus and not be able to say bye to their family in person, they said.

“The hardest conversations I’ve had so far is just holding that zoom and listening to them saying the goodbyes,” said Amy Petitt, a charge nurse. “Listening to those last conversations with family is hard.”

Now they’re calling on the public to take this more seriously to help them out.

They are begging the public to wash their hand watch their distance and wear a mask until we are able to get a vaccine out to the public.