Beloit nurse joins front-line fight against COVID-19 at NYC hospital, opens up about experience

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (WTVO) — A Beloit nurse temporarily uprooted her life to join the fight against COVID-19 in New York City, which is the country’s epicenter of the virus. She told Eyewitness News that she lost three patients in one shift, which is sadly the new normal.

Nikki Olson selflessly left her family of five and job at Beloit Memorial Hospital to combat the virus. She said this is the sickest she has ever seen her patients.

“It’s mass chaos and all of us are really just trying to do the best that we can,” Olson said. “The virus really wreaks havoc not only on your lungs but on your kidneys and really on your autonomic nervous system, and it really makes these people put up a really big fight.”

To save her patients, Olson said she and her fellow nurses have to be ready for anything at a moment’s notice.

“If you don’t respond fast, and when I say fast I don’t mean like five minutes I mean within 30-45 seconds, they will die,” Olson added.

Olson said she has never experience death like she has working during the pandemic.

“I had a patient who passed away my first week here, I got hit with death pretty hard my first week here, but they hadn’t seen him in a month and he was very, very ill. He was a veteran, and they were having a really hard time. I made some handprints and thumbprints for them. I recorded his heartbeat and printed out some EKG strips, and so I made this little bundle of stuff for these people to have as a memento of their dad,” Olson said.

The patient’s family gave her a ‘thank you’ note that she keeps for motivation. Illinois hasn’t been hit as hard as New York, a reality that Olson credits to social distancing.

“I wish people understood that staying at home prevents the spread, so that’s why they’re not seeing COVID as much. They’re preventing deaths and everyone working together as a team is so important right now,” Olson stressed.

More than 11,000 people have died from the virus in New York.

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