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Nurse of the Week Kirsten Flanary has an abundance of the compassionate nature that is a defining characteristic among nurses. This week, she serves as an example of the many nurses around the country who are venturing out of their comfort zones to join the fight against COVID-19. Flanary, a 25-year-old ED and travel nurse who has worked at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was stricken by the news about the devastating impact of COVID-19 on New York City. Kirsten couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the overwhelmed city and soon found herself ready to join the fight.
As she listened to the reports that came flooding in, Kirsten thought, “All these big cities are just drowning in this virus. Nurses are exhausted, they’re working long hours, they’re not having days off. Everybody is getting sick…” When the pandemic spread and legislators removed restrictions preventing nurses from using their licenses to practice out of state, Kirsten was ready to do what she could to help ease New York’s plight. She had never even been on an airplane, but that now seemed like a small consideration in the overall scheme of things.
Kirsten’s mother—who is a nurse as well—was initially flabbergasted. “Her response was, are you insane? But she has been my biggest support in all of this.” An undaunted Kirsten packed her bags, flew into the Big Apple on Sunday, April 5, and joined the thousands of nurses working on the front lines of New York’s COVID-19 pandemic. Kirsten arrived in a desolated city, but since her arrival, she has been inspired and gratified by the appreciation of those who remain:
Now, Kirsten, too, is braving the virus while caring for a seemingly endless flow of patients, but she feels committed: “When you start nursing you take an oath. We put our patients first and typically put ourselves last. I felt like I needed to do something.”
You can see Kirsten’s interview with WJHL here.