CORONAVIRUS

New York Nurses In Utah To Help Intermountain Healthcare With COVID-19 Surge

Nov 12, 2020, 6:21 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm

MURRY, Utah – As the rising number of COVID-19 patients pushes Utah hospitals to their capacity, frontline caregivers with Intermountain Healthcare are getting help from a recently-formed friendship.

Nurses from New York have arrived to return a favor for the assistance they received early in the pandemic.

Back in April, when New York hospitals experienced a dangerous surge in COVID-19 patients, Intermountain Healthcare sent 100 caregivers to help.

Now, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is answering Utah’s call for help.

“I wanted to pay it forward to the frontline workers who left their homes to aid us in our time of need,” said Wen Hui Xiao, a registered nurse from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Xiao is among 31 nurses from New York who arrived last week to work in Intermountain healthcare’s intensive care units, emergency departments and surgical units. When Utah nurses helped them in the spring, she said, it renewed the energy of the nurses who had felt depleted.

“A battle is easier won together, and it is the circle of trust and support that has kept us going,” said Xiao.

“As one of my colleagues says, beds don’t take care of patients, people do,” said Dr. Katie Thomas, associate medical director at Intermountain Healthcare. “Nurses are essential to the phenomenal care that we try to give our patients, and they are the heart of the hospital.”

Intermountain Healthcare is getting creative with staffing and resources to survive this surge. The health care system also hired nearly 200 traveling nurses, added ICU beds and moved resources around to provide the best care possible.

In April, the New York nurses said they were exhausted when the Utah professionals arrived.

Natalie Torrance, a registered nurse with NewYork-Presbyterian, read some of the thoughts and messages from her colleagues during a teleconference Thursday.

“An ICU nurse shares, ‘There were so many patients, and not enough of us to take care of all of them, the Intermountain nurses jumped in immediately to help us and I recall thinking they are fearless and so selfless not really knowing what was ahead or what to expect.’” Torrance read.

“I remember the night that some of the nurses from Intermountain initially walked in. It was such a sense of relief for myself and to know that we had a few extra hands,” Torrance said.

The visiting nurses already made an impact here.

“They have been phenomenal. They are incredibly skilled caregivers, and also their enthusiasm and energy has really uplifted the spirit of our teams,” said Hallie Rector, a registered nurse with Intermountain Healthcare.

Despite the challenges, the nurses said they are ready to take care of all patients and they need the public to do their part.

“If the population who is not masking and distancing does not start doing that, I’m very fearful as to where we’re going to be in a couple of months,” said Dr. Thomas.

The volunteers from New York will work here for two weeks. The traveling nurses will work here as long as they are needed.

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New York Nurses In Utah To Help Intermountain Healthcare With COVID-19 Surge