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Renee Woodworth '98 BSN, RN, NCSN

Female Nurses with masks stand outside of a Brooklyn hospital.

Renee Woodworth paused her business and left her family to volunteer at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY following a call for help from fellow Villanova Nursing alumnus, Kelly Reilly ’16 PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC, Vice President, Patient Experience; Vice President, Pediatric Nursing; Chief Learning Officer, Nursing.

Renee stepped in and assisted in orienting new volunteer nurses. Her story is a compilation of emails and Facebook posts (with her permission) written while in Brooklyn.



April 6, 2020

First day in Brooklyn at Maimonides Medical Center. The staff here is absolutely amazing . . .  Incredibly kind and patient even though they have gone through so much. I am helping coordinate the incoming staff so not directly involved in patient care.

April 29, 2020

I did indeed end up at Maimonides as a result of Kelly’s call for help. I was humbled to work alongside her incredible team as the crisis staffing coordinator. We onboarded over 400 nurses in two and a half weeks to help support the rapidly growing needs of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Prior to leaving for Brooklyn on April 6, I repositioned my small business, REACT Bags - which makes emergency preparedness kits for schools, businesses and other public settings, into an operational pause phase (due to the Coronavirus) and was volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps in Arlington VA at the county health department screening positive COVID patients and answering calls from the general public about the Coronavirus.

Our Villanova Nurses are making a difference all over the world in the fight against COVID-19 and we are grateful for the support of our Villanova nursing community. \\//

This is a quote that carried us through  . . . “You have been assigned this mountain so that you can show others it can be moved.” - Mel Robbins

May 7

Tomorrow is the final day of this journey. When I left five weeks ago I didn’t know what tomorrow would look like. And honestly, that was terrifying...

As I work to finish my thank you notes and complete my journal, I want to share some of my thoughts. I realize now there is no way I can thank everyone but to ALL of you, please know this ~ my heart is exploding with gratitude.

When I spoke to the nurses at the end of their orientation and before they received their first assignment, I told them...those working on the floors are tired. They have been fighting this war for weeks before we arrived. It is our job to dig deep, because this will be hard, the nurses might not have the energy to express their gratitude, but with this extreme challenge, remember, WE bring HOPE. It was our job to be the HOPE for those that are weary.

When I drove home at night, often after 16 hours, I asked God to wrap me in your prayers of strength. I knew they were there and I knew they would carry me through. I needed them so I could continue to bring that message - HOPE.

We are all tired, our children are tired, our lives are forever changed. But my wish for all of you is that you too, can reach out...maybe to God, maybe a long lost friend, your spouse, your Mom or Dad, your neighbor...let them strengthen you with HOPE for TOMORROW because tomorrow is a new day.

And there will be a tomorrow where the pandemic known as COVID-19, will be a lesson for history.

We CAN and we WILL get through.

Inspired to share your COVID-19 story?

We welcome submissions from Villanova Nurses about their experience during COVID-19. Please email with your photo, name, credentials, degree/year, role and employer/location along with a brief story of your experience, your reflections on nursing and/or how your Villanova Nursing education prepared you for this pandemic.

Your submission may be used on this page and potentially on social media or in related College communication. Thank you!