When Jayden Galvez started nursing school with Nightingale College, he thought he was signing up for a great career. He had no idea that a few years later he would be in the epicenter of the nation’s fight against COVID-19, confident in his abilities to care for patients, but learning something new every day. But now, after a month at New York University’s Kimmeo Pavilion, this ICU nurse from Utah is telling his story in the midst of a global pandemic.
As a 2015 Nightingale College graduate, Galvez went to work in the ICU at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. He chose Nightingale because of the flexibility that allowed him to complete more quickly and get into the workforce. Working in the ICU exposed him to a diverse patient population and the need for individualized care based on a variety of conditions. Galvez believes this experience was especially helpful in preparing him for the work he does now. “Caring for ICU patients is similar to caring for COVID-19 patients, except that I am covered entirely in PPE. It’s 12 hours of sweating and breathing Clorox,” he says.
Although Galvez felt very prepared for his current position, he notes that there are distinct differences in the level of monitoring patients and adjust care. “I love to learn,” he says, “and this is a constant learning experience. We’re still learning how patients are being affected. This is not normal care.” He was working in Texas when COVID-19 began to emerge as a pandemic in the US and saw the opportunity to work as a traveling nurse in New York as an opportunity to make a real difference for the community as well as a way to keep his family safe from him bringing it home, so his wife and children moved back to Utah and he took his skills to the city.
“It’s been a great experience,” Galvez says. “I have the deepest respect and sympathy for the staff that handled it all until the traveling nurses showed up. Not everyone is as experienced so some of [the traveling nurses] are overwhelmed.” Between his education and training, he feels like he is well prepared because he is ready to learn, and there is something new to learn every day.
Galvez has always enjoyed being a nurse. He acknowledges the frustrating days when patients and families respond strongly to their pain, but he knows it comes with the territory. “The negative feedback comes because they are frustrated by the pain, but they don’t give it that way. You just have to remember that you can’t take it personally because you are not the pain, but that’s what they are responding to.” He knows the same type of thing happens everywhere, and stays above it, but always tries to learn. “Every nurse finds their niche where they flourish. For me, that was ICU. I love to learn and there was always something new in the ICU,” he added, “and it’s always rewarding when your patient is out of pain and recovers.”
When asked about what is most frustrating in his current situation, he didn’t hesitate. “It concerns me that the media and social media are downplaying it. It’s real. It is messy. It is devastating. It’s disheartening that people don’t realize the impact.”
Galvez has nothing but praise for the team at NYU Hospital. “They are so grateful to the traveling nurses and treat us very well. We are just controlling and stabilizing what they started,” he says. He struggles to imagine how the team handled all of it before the traveling nurses show up, but praises the fact that they have a strong system in place so nurses from around the country, with different training and different backgrounds, are picking up and helping with the workload quickly and efficiently. “We don’t know each other and we don’t know the building, but we’re all working together really well to keep it smooth. People are always expressing their gratitude for the traveling nurses.”
Thinking about where his career will take him next, he said that he is completing his Bachelor of Science in Nursing now but is looking to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CNRA) after graduation.
Nightingale College is proud of Galvez and how he is representing the school. We extend our deepest gratitude to him and to all our alumni who are working hard to care for a healing world.
Flame Forward, Jayden! Come visit us when you return to Utah!