June 29, 2020 – When Staten Island needed them most, they came. Nurses from all across the country, trained in all different specialties. They came in March and April at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic here in New York City. On Friday, June 26, Richmond University Medical Center expressed its thanks and unending gratitude to almost 80 of these nurses as they begin making plans to return home. The hospital held a “grab and go” breakfast early that morning as the nurses arrived for their shift at 7 AM or left after completing their overnight duties.
“Providing breakfast is a small token of our appreciation for the dedication and commitment shown by these professionals, some of whom came from as far away as California, Oklahoma, Washington state and even Canada,” president and chief executive officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE, said. “Many of them will be leaving us shortly to return home, many to states that are seeing spikes of COVID-19 that rival what we faced just a few short weeks ago. I am hopeful that these men and women who came when we needed them most remain safe and can also take what they learned here, apply it in their own hospitals, and save lives.”
The nurses were assigned to RUMC by New York City to provided support during the height of the pandemic. The hospital admitted its first COVID-19 patient on March 14. Just three weeks later, RUMC would reach its high point of COVID-19 inpatients with 210 admitted patients in need of care. In addition to providing weeks of support in RUMC’s emergency department and Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the nurses were also assigned to various other departments to provide assistance including Labor and Delivery, among others. For some of the nurses, RUMC was only one of the hospitals they worked in during their time in New York City.
“Many of them have been away from their homes and families since early March working various assignments throughout the New York City area,” chief nurse officer and chief operating officer, Rosemarie Stazzone, RN, MS, CNE, said. “They came to us at a critical time. Their professionalism and enthusiasm to be a part of our RUMC team was truly a bright spot during one of the most difficult and challenging times on our hospital’s history.”
As cases of COVID-19 have declined across New York City, many of the nurses will be leaving shortly after the July 4th holiday, while others will remain into August. As of June 29, RUMC’s COVID-19 inpatient population was down to 10 patients. The hospital has treated and discharged over 1,200 COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began. Earlier in June, the hospital opened its comprehensive Post COVID-19 Care Center at 288 Kissel Avenue to provide recovered COVID-19 individuals with continuous medical care to help them with their short-term and long-term recovery needs.