Galen Alumni and Online RN to BSN Student Serves on the Front Lines of New York City’s Coronavirus Care
We all know nursing is a calling. But for Galen Alumni Morgan Glynn, it also came to mean calling… and calling, and calling…45 minutes’ worth of redialing the Krucial Staffing Health hotline to sign up for deployment as an ICU nurse in New York City at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Morgan – who has an ICU background and was working with Coronavirus patients at Baptist Health marveled a little when she remembered the Krucial signup process, and was amazed at the number of nurses who wanted to sign up.
But get through, and get signed up, Morgan did. Two days later, she found herself at the Louisville airport with bags, ticket, and laptop (so she could continue her Online RN to BSN coursework), saying goodbye to her family.
“Once I got through, they basically told me I had 48 hours to deploy to New York. From there, she had just a few details, including the name of a hotel in New York City. “I was definitely nervous. I didn’t know what to think; I didn’t know what to do; how it was going to go, or anything!”
Morgan comes from a nursing family. Born in Louisville and raised in Southern Indiana, she watched her mother, Sherri Wilson, work in healthcare since she was a small girl. Sherri also graduated from Galen, as did Morgan’s sister-in-law, Karen Buckley.
Karen was also on the New York assignment, but was staying in a different hotel and deployed at a different hospital. In fact, so many nurses came into town that nurses from Krucial Staffing alone filled as many as six hotels. A friend of Morgan’s was there, too, but again, at a different hotel and a different hospital. “So basically, I didn’t know a single person there,” she said.
After an orientation and a three-day on-call period, Morgan received her assignment: the night shift at a hospital in Brooklyn. “April 11th, that was my first day. From there, we did 21 days, with two days off in those 21 days.”
We asked Morgan to describe her first day. “It was hectic. The staffing company staffed an entire unit of ICU Coronavirus. So it was…it was different. Okay, actually, it was chaos!” she laughs. “We were all with the same recruiting company, but we didn’t know each other. We were from all over the country. We got onto a bus, went to the hospital, got off the bus, and met our unit leader.”
“They had transformed a recovery unit into a makeshift ICU. I think there were five of us there. They gave us our PPE … gowns, N95 masks, shoe covers, hair covers, gloves, face shields, everything. We put it on … at first it took us like, 20 to 25 minutes to get it all on in the right order so we wouldn’t contaminate it taking it off, but as the days went on we got quicker.”
“So we get our PPE on, and we go into the unit, and there’s not one floor nurse to be found. It was kind of scary. There was a charge nurse, and some doctors, but the day shift had already left to catch their bus.”
“We lined up, we got our patients–we each had as many as four patients, which is on the high side for an ICU,–and at that point it was ‘Fend for yourself!’
“It was a big ‘seek and find,’ that’s all I can describe it as. If you needed some tape, you had to look for it in every single drawer. If you just needed a bag of saline to hang, you just had to go around the whole unit and look for it. Nobody knew. So you know, things took a lot longer to do.”
“But, I think as time went on we were a great unit. We all meshed pretty well, teamwork-wise. We made sure the patients were safe– that was our first priority. And then just teamwork really helped us get through our shifts.”
“Even though it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before–they haven’t made a clinical for that yet!–overall, it was a good experience.”
Work nights, school days
You’d think that nights on a Coronavirus ICU ward would be enough for anyone. But not for Morgan. When she wasn’t working or sleeping, she was doing her Online RN to BSN coursework.
“The first couple of weeks I’d do as much as I could. I preplanned my papers, I’d write out my discussions for that week and the next week. I wanted to do just as much as I could early, in case I got tired in the end. That way, I’d almost have things ready.”
“I’d get home at 10, go to bed around 11. Then I’d wake up at 3:30, do homework until 5:30, and catch the bus at 6:45. I did a little every day; the sleeping was very light. But the coursework helped keep the boredom away.”
This schedule didn’t leave much time for anything else, though she did go over to the Brooklyn Bridge on a break. She also walked around Times Square on “food runs.”
Morgan says those little trips really made an impact. “Our hotel was on Times Square, so I saw it every day. It was really, really eerie when I first got there. I would go outside to grab food or whatever, and I would literally be the only person out there–he one, single person. It was weird, because I’d been to New York before, and there were people shoulder-to-shoulder. But not this time…not one person outside, except myself. “
Morgan came home in early June, just in time for graduation. Now she’s settling back into her life with her husband and two dogs, and is looking forward to traveling as soon as she can. Among other things, she’ll be planning a trip with her “new best friend,” another nurse she met during her time in New York.
And would she do it again?
“Yes. I basically made up my mind when I left.. I wanted to stay longer. If worse comes to worst, like they need us back, or need our help again, I’ll go back in a heartbeat.”
Congratulations to you, Morgan. On your commitment and great work providing care to those who need it most, your safe return, and for continuing your nursing education through it all. We, your colleagues at Galen couldn’t be more proud.. With nurses like you on the front lines, things can only get better.
Alumni Spotlight: Thurman Eversole, Galen Hazard campus
“I never thought I’d be able to become a nurse. And now I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life but nursing.”
Thurman Eversole never saw himself becoming a nurse. After dropping out of high school and obtaining his GED, he was working a seemingly endless series of minimum-wage jobs, because he honestly believed he wasn’t smart enough to do anything else.
Today, Thurman’s career with Appalachian Regional Healthcare proves otherwise, in a big way. He is a highly respected registered staff nurse in the Intensive Care unit at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, earning certifications in advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) and the trauma-nursing core course (TNCC). He also affects the lives of future nurses, sharing his skills and positive attitude in his role as teacher and mentor to Galen students who gain clinical experience on his unit.
Born and raised in Hazard, Kentucky, Thurman first began working in Security at Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH). That’s where Thurman first felt the spark that became a life-changing flame.
Thurman says, “It was through my interactions with the nurses and witnessing their care and compassion for others that encouraged me. I worked my way up through the company until I found the courage in myself to pursue nursing. It was through the encouragement of others that I was able to believe in myself.”
Thurman enrolled at Galen’s Hazard campus, and graduated with his ADN in July of 2019. At graduation, his fellow students selected him as the recipient of the Marjorie Perrin “Essence of Nursing/Human Touch” award. He has been working at Hazard ARH Regional ever since.
This fall, Thurman will return to Galen to pursue his BSN, and expects to complete it in Fall 2021. Eventually, he aims to continue his critical-care nursing career in a metropolitan trauma-certified hospital.
Thurman says, “Galen has been essential in my journey to becoming a nurse. If it were not for the support of the instructors and staff throughout the program, I would not be where I’m at today. Not only did I gain the knowledge to pass my boards, but I also learned how to confidently care for my patients and their families, no matter where my journey takes me. I like to think that I planted a seed when I started at Galen a seed of compassion and the drive to become a nurse. That seed was well-grounded in Galen, as they have successfully graduated over 20,000 students. With their continued cultivation of my education throughout the program, I grew into a tree of knowledge. They not only gave me the tools to survive the storms of life, they instilled the mindset to thrive. Now, I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else with my life but nursing.”
Congratulations to you, Thurman, and thank you for your dedication. More important, thank you for deciding to believe in yourself. We at Galen, and the students you mentor, and most important of all, your patients – will be forever grateful.
Dr. Tracy Ortelli Announced as the Newly Elected President of The New Jersey League for Nursing (NJLN)
Executive Vice President Tracy Ortelli, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF to Lead New Jersey League of Nursing as New President
June 18, 2020 – Louisville, KY – The New Jersey League for Nursing (NJLN), an affiliate of the National League for Nursing proudly announced their newly elected President, Tracy Ortelli, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF. Dr. Ortelli, Executive Vice President Postlicensure Nursing Education at Galen College of Nursing, will serve a two-year term through spring of 2022.
“As a college dedicated to expanding access to quality nursing education, we are proud and honored that Dr. Ortelli extends her commitment to nursing education beyond our walls to support the nursing profession and quality care in our country,” said Mark Vogt, CEO Galen College of Nursing. “Dr. Ortelli brings not only professional excellence, but passion for nursing and nursing education to all she does. She will serve the NLJN with the same dedication and remarkable leadership.”
The New Jersey League of Nursing is a state constituent league of the National League of Nursing, with membership open to and representing all levels of nursing from practicing nurses, students, and retirees, as well those who provide health care services, schools and consumers. The NJLN is responsible for shaping nursing education and providing resources and scholarships for the Nurses of New Jersey.
Dr. Ortelli served as a board member, Treasurer, then President-Elect prior to her new role. “I am honored to move in to my role as President with the New Jersey League of Nursing as we celebrate 105 years of support and dedication to the nursing profession,” said Ortelli. “As an organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of nursing education, we look forward to continuing to build a community of support for nurses at all levels and to recognize those who have made a difference. Now more than ever, it is imperative to build relationships in the healthcare community, and to expand our reach to strengthen our ability to impact the lives of those who dedicate themselves to nursing and healthcare in our country.”
The New Jersey League for Nursing supports and implements the mission of the National League for Nursing to promote excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the nation’s health at the constituent level. The NJLN is a premier nursing Organization in the State, with more than 105 Years of promoting the positive image of nursing. The New Jersey League for Nursing believes in the professional advancement of nursing education and practice through programs, scholarships, and opportunities that address the needs of diverse students, faculty and practicing nurses in a rapidly changing healthcare environment while promoting collaboration and forming partnerships. For further information on the NJLN, or to become a member, please visit www.njln.org.
About Galen College of Nursing
Founded 30 years ago, Galen College of Nursing is one of the largest private nursing schools in the United States. With a focus solely on nursing education and a mission to expand access to nursing education, the College offers master’s, baccalaureate and associate degree education and practical/vocational nursing (PN/VN) programs to over 6,000 students on its campuses in Louisville, Ky., Hazard, Ky., San Antonio, Tx., Tampa Bay, Fla., Cincinnati, Oh., and Online. Galen is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. For more information about Galen College of Nursing, visit galencollege.edu.
The events of the past week have been painful to watch as we see suffering and civil unrest in our communities across the country. We see the struggle and pain of racism and racial divide that continues to plague our nation and the immense grief caused by senseless death and violence, giving rise to voices louder than ever, saying, “Enough!”
The core values of Galen College of Nursing embrace respect and inclusivity. Indeed, the acceptance and fair treatment of every human being is at the heart of these values, and the nursing profession. We educate students to enter nursing to care for humanity without bias. We have a responsibility to nurture this culture, not only within our walls, but in our lives.
Respect, compassion and accountability have always been fundamental in our values at Galen College of Nursing and we join voices with those seeking change and peace. As we see events unfold contrary to our core values, we know that many are hurting, anxious and concerned for each other, our friends, families, and our country. We share this pain.
We are passionate about our commitment to sustain a community of educators and students built on inclusivity and respect. We continue to nurture acceptance and empathy, and the responsibility for all to do the same, understanding our part in fostering a more just society for all.
Mark Vogt, CEO, Galen College of Nursing
Hannah Fisher, RN always knew she wanted to pursue a career helping people in times of need. When she told her parents she wanted to be a firefighter, they supported her wholeheartedly. But two years into school and training came a medical diagnosis of arteriovenous malformation (AVM), something that could lead to brain aneurysm with strenuous activity. Following doctor’s recommendations, but loving the life safety and care aspect of the education, she decided to pursue nursing.
Fisher graduated from Galen’s Louisville campus ADN program at the end of 2019 and went right into a job at the University of Louisville Hospital in their PCU, with the goal of one day working in its level 1 trauma center. Then came COVID-19.
While she isn’t caring for affected patients, she is seeing first-hand the amazing work and sacrifice of so many as her colleagues locally, and across the country. Seeing the heartache and the physical and emotional strain, she wanted to help. Thus was born, The Blue Heart Movement. She and a friend, Brittany Ballard, decided to give blue heart stickers to their coworkers along with a little note of encouragement, asking them to place the blue heart on their badge, as a sign of hope and unity. And they did so, anonymously.
They also created a Facebook group called Healthcare Heroes as a place for any US healthcare worker to connect “during this crazy time”, and to promote their blue hearts. They started taking requests, using their own money and off-work hours to create what has now turned in to thousands of little packets filled with a note and a blue heart sticker, being sent to facilities across the state, a
nd now, even the country, to be distributed anonymously colleague to colleague, to honor those who are working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy.
While Fisher says she dearly misses her Galen family, she “still feels like she is in school” because of her great, new work family. The best thing about Galen for her was the people and how helpful everyone is, and she says she is fortunate to have found that at work as well. Her advice to new students is to connect with people. “The teachers are great”, she said, “and I recommend building a solid support group and starting study groups early in the program.”
For us at Galen, we could not be more proud. Hannah is an example of the compassion, dedication, and determination that is the very essence of nursing and we are honored to call her a Galen grad.
Visit Healthcare Heroes on Facebook or visit this link to put in a request for Blue Hearts to be shipped directly to you.