Tyler Connellan '18 BSN, RN
Staff nurse, Neurology, Neurosurgery and Orthopedics floor, Memorial 4
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYC
April 25, 2020
I have been working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center since September 2018, on the Neurology, Neurosurgery and Orthopedics floor, Memorial 4. For the first 14 months, I had been working the night shift. I was looking forward to my very first day shift, which was March 15th. As I walked onto the unit, I was told I would be the nurse taking care of our first three COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
The next few days, our floor transitioned into the first and only COVID-19 unit in the hospital. Those first few weeks were very stressful and chaotic, as protocols were changing by the hour and patients were being admitted non-stop.
Two weeks into having COVID-19 patients on my unit, I was selected to be up-trained as an ICU nurse within three days.
As the weeks passed by, we were now one of five floors throughout the hospital that were designated for COVID -19 patients only. This entire experience thus far has been something I never imagined I would be faced with during my second year as a new nurse.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to have the most amazing co-workers not just on my unit, but also throughout our entire hospital. This situation made our hospital closer than ever and it is something that will influence my entire career as a nurse.
I truly believe Villanova gave me the best education but more than that, it fortified my faith, which is something you truly need when you’re surrounded by dying patients everyday with no end in sight of this horrible pandemic.
I feel truly honored to be on the frontlines during this catastrophic time in history. I have never felt so truly loved and appreciated more than during this time. The outreach from family, friends, Villanova alumni, co-workers, and neighbors has been so extraordinary. I am hopeful that soon there will be an end to all of this sadness but I truly could not have made it this far without all of the love and support I have received, even strangers. The highlight of my day is the 7pm “Cheers” outside of my New York City apartment!