This Photo of a Husband and Wife Working on a COVID-19 Team Shows the Reality of Working in Hospitals Now
Nurses are on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, working grueling shifts in overcrowded hospitals to help save lives while sacrificing their own safety and time with loved ones.
Nothing illustrates this devotion and sacrifice more than this emotional photo of two nurse anesthetists who are married to each other and work on the same Anesthesia COVID-19 Airway team—savoring their limited time together without knowing what will come next, and if their own lives are at stake.
Nicole Hubbard, a chief nurse anesthetist at a hospital in Tampa, Florida, took the photo of her two married colleagues, Ben Cayer and Mindy Brock, and posted it to Facebook on March 31. Cayer and Brock are also both nurse anesthetists. The photo shows them moments before they started their shift on their hospital's Anesthesia COVID-19 Airway team.
The Anesthesia COVID-19 Airway team was created to intubate and extubate all patients while in full PPE to keep the rest of the operating room staff safe from any contamination. It also helps to conserve PPE because only the nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists that work on the Airway team are in full PPE gear.
Cayer and Brock were among first staffers to volunteer to work on the Anesthesia COVID-19 Airway team, Hubbard tells Health. The photo shows them on their first day on the team, sharing a physically close moment and acknowledging their connection before starting their shift.
"They told the story that they were actually in an argument on their way to work, and when I took the photo they had just sort of come to the agreement [not to] sweat the small stuff because look at what we're about to do," says Hubbard.
Hubbard was shocked when the emotional photo was shared across Facebook and Instagram in a matter of days. Ultimately, she wants people to know that health care workers on duty during the pandemic are just like the rest of us: doing our jobs and trying to stay safe in the meantime.
"We're all in this because we love our jobs and we love helping people, and while its nice to see people making health care workers out to be heroes right now, they were doing this kind of lifesaving work before any of this even started, and they all just love doing their jobs," she says.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.
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