Nurse redeployed to support patient surge

Fabiola Tony, RN

Assistant Nursing Director
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

My Role: I’m typically responsible for the adult primary clinics providing outpatient care to patients in Brooklyn. Now everything has changed. With the surge in patients, we needed more nurses in different areas, so our ambulatory care nurses were redeployed to the ER and inpatient care to help manage the tremendous surge.

Motivating Staff: The majority of nurses on my team haven’t worked on the hospital side for a long time. As their leader, I needed to be there in the trenches with them, teaching them and showing them support.

What matters right now is for me to give them the necessary tools – everything from the appropriate PPE to making sure they get breaks and eat – so they can take care of patients.

How The Crisis Changed Me: I spend every day exposed to COVID-19. That’s changed my life with my family. I don’t want to expose my kids, so I’ve isolated myself at home. But, my kids understand and they’re trying to be more appreciative of me, even though they know we can’t have contact. When I leave my uniform downstairs in the basement, my oldest daughter, Tanya, 24, washes it and makes sure I have a clean uniform to go back to work.

Why I’m On The Front Lines: I just lost my good friend who was a nurse at another hospital, and my dad was just treated for COVID-19 at another hospital. He is ok and was discharged. The nurses cared greatly for my dad, now I feel that I need to be there to help other patients survive the horrific virus.