It’s been 10 days since Anna Slayton arrived in New York. And for most of them, the Midlothian nurse has worked 12-hour overnight shifts at a nursing facility caring for the elderly, most at-risk of dying from COVID-19.
“Every single one of my patients has had COVID. Some have survived. Some are still battling it. Some are dying from the disease and their other comorbidities," Slayton said. "There have been patients that live in the facilities that have lost their spouses, because the virus just ran rampant."
It’s grueling work that puts her closest to the virus most people are trying to avoid.
But in the midst of a pandemic, it’s the place she said she feels called to be.
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Slayton said she first began to feel the pull as she watched on TV as the USNS Comfort docked in New York City.
For her, like many, it signified the city’s worst crisis since 9/11.
And Slayton, whose brother served in the Navy, said it made her realize now was her turn to serve.
Slayton was working at a small private facility after years as an ER nurse.
She’d already been warned staffing cuts were coming. On top of that, her family’s barbershop had been forced to temporarily close its doors.
“For our family, we just know this is what we have to do,” Slayton said.
While gone, she said her family has stayed connected via daily FaceTime calls.
And she’s already said when her 21-day assignment is up, she planned to renew to stay and help for the foreseeable future.
“As a nurse, I’m serving. It’s just so humbling when shift change happens and all the people of New York are cheering in their windows and slamming on pots. And it’s like, we are here for them. We are serving them. So, I’m just grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Slayton said.
For those who want to show support from home, Slayton said she and her fellow nurses are in need of some essentials to provide good, basic care for their patients in isolation.
Those include things like hand gel, sanitizing wipes, blankets, socks, stuffed animals, pillows, plants, tea and lotion.
The items can be sent to:
Anna Slayton, Room 1108
811 7th Street
New York, NY 10019