Glenda Archambeault, a San Luis Obispo nurse for Tenet Healthcare, embarked on a three-week journey to help provide support to other nurses in Detroit, Michigan during the COVID-19 outbreak in early April.
Since returning home, she is reflecting on the time she spent face-to-face with the crisis.
“I was awestruck when I first walked in. I had never seen that many patients," Archambeault said.
She said that in her 14 years as a nurse, some of the situations she experienced with patients in the ICU while in Detroit have impacted her the most.
“Just seeing the number of sick and talking to the families on the phone and them not being able to come in and see their family members and knowing that some of them hadn’t seen their family members in three or four weeks,” Archambeault said.
Archambeault was one of hundreds of Tenet nurses that volunteered across the country. She adds that being away from their own families was one of the most challenging obstacles.
“I talked to my husband every night because I really needed that connection at home,” she said.
In her first week in Detroit, Archambeault said she was helping up to four COVID-19 patients per shift, but as time went on, that number went down to two.
Although the weeks were challenging, Archambeault said she doesn't see a situation in which she wouldn't consider volunteering again.
“All of us chose this career for a reason. I didn’t choose it to be loved but it's very nice in times like these to feel that," she added.
Archambeault was tested for COVID-19 upon her arrival in San Luis Obispo and her results were negative.
May 6 is National Nurses Day.