EmVP: Exclusive look at mid-Missouri nurses on the frontlines

5 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Thursday, April 16 2020 Apr 16, 2020 Thursday, April 16, 2020 9:36:00 PM CDT April 16, 2020 in News
By: Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor
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COLUMBIA - During a global pandemic, the healthcare workers are the super heroes. 

But, MU Health Care nurse Jared Wilson said it's simply his job.

"I don’t consider myself a hero. I do what I do every day with a smile on my face and I’m here to treat my patients," he said.

Wilson is one of the nurses working inside the COVID-19 unit at University Hospital. KOMU 8 got exclusive video of the Progressive Care Unit that now treats COVID-19 patients. 

"Our manager came and asked all of us if we wanted to headline it and I’m pretty young and I thought that it would be a great thing to do," Wilson said. 

Instead of wearing capes, these heroes where gowns, gloves and helmets.

"They call it a capper. It has a pressure system that blows airs out," Andrea Wiese said about the helmets the nurses wear when going into COVID-19 patient rooms. 

Wiese is also a nurse on the unit for MU Health Care.

She said the personal protective equipment (PPE) is a little uncomfortable, but worth it to keep everyone safe. She said it does make it difficult to communicate with her patients.

"I just shout at them so they can hear me," Wiese said with a laugh. "I talk very loudly.”

The COVID-19 unit is a place where most people do not want to go, but these nurses go there willingly.

"I love people," Wiese said. "I find a lot of joy in getting to know people and helping them."

They help people like Columbia pastor, John Drage. John tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March. 

"I couldn't catch my breath," John said, who is also battling brain cancer. "We're fighting a multiple front war."

John spent two nights in the COVID-19 unit at MU Health Care. His wife, Amy, helped him get to the ER, but wasn't allowed to come inside with him.

"You could hear just his shallow breathing and we didn't know if it was going to turn for better or for worse really," Amy said.

A few days later, she also tested positive for COVID-19. She's been able to fight the virus from home. 

John's reaction to his stay at the hospital might surprise you. 

"Oh gosh, what an amazing experience," he said.

But, John said that was because of the health care workers.

"They really took their job serious, they were sweet to me."

"They could be risking their lives to work on that floor and we're super thankful," Amy said.

The nurses said taking the risks are part of the job. 

"We're not afraid to interact with our patients and do what we have to do," Wilson said.

The nurses also make sacrifices. 

"I have two small kids at home, so, I'm extra careful," Wiese said.

And, these nurses also win battles. 

"I want them to know that we are continuing to fight this thing with everything that we have," Wilson said.

That sure sounds like a super hero. 

"They put themselves in danger every day," John said.

"We appreciate all of your support and we're going to get through this," Wilson said.

The nurses said they appreciate everyone staying home right now and ask the public to keep it up.

They said they also appreciate all of the food deliveries and thank you notes. Those notes are now hanging up around the unit.

Video inside the hospital courtesy MU Health Care.

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