Cedars-Sinai Blog

Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Shawn Estebo, RN

Cedars-Sinai Nurse Shawn Estebo

Meet Shawn Estebo, a nurse who volunteered to work in the Intensive Care Unit with COVID-19 patients.

Shawn usually works in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), where patients recover from surgery. 

"I'm just so proud to be of service, proud to work through it and be part of it. I've pitched in where I could. It feels good to be able to say that. I've been able to help out wherever I could help out."

While bracing for a potential influx of patients, Cedars-Sinai's Nursing Department developed a team approach. Experienced nurses from other areas worked with critical care unit nurses on the Intensive Care Unit to ensure plenty of nurses with the right skills would be available to help people critically ill with COVID-19.

Shawn was among the first to volunteer.

Why did you volunteer to work with COVID-19 patients?

Shawn Estebo: It was an excellent opportunity to be of service and be helpful. In this situation, I want to do whatever I can to help and provide extra support. 

I went the first day they asked for volunteers, saying I'd do it. I'm just so proud to be of service, proud to work through it and be part of it. I've pitched in where I could. It feels good to be able to say I've been able to help out wherever I could.

Are there moments in your work during the COVID-19 pandemic that really stand out to you?

SE: I will always remember one patient I had for three days. She was on a ventilator and intubated, but she was awake and alert, looking at us. She couldn't speak, and she spoke mostly Spanish.

Since patients with COVID-19 can't have visitors, I tried really hard to communicate with her.

A few days later, she got her tube out. I stopped by her room and saw her through the window. She was making these heart symbols with her hands, and my heart just filled with love. It warmed my heart for the whole day. She was one of the success stories.

Where in the medical center do you work now?

SE: I'm back in the PACU, and it's a great place. We have lots of patients scheduled for surgeries—we're very busy!

What do you do to manage your stress?

SE: It's not always easy. My husband, Bobby (Mayers), and I are getting back to working out and taking daily hikes. We don't live too far from Runyon Canyon, so that's one of our favorite places to hike.

What activities do you most look forward to returning to after the pandemic?

SE: We really miss movies and concerts, but my favorite thing is travel. We got married in November, and right before COVID-19 we took a trip to Australia and New Zealand. We had such an amazing adventure. We went jet skiing and ziplining. We saw the Great Barrier Reef.

I have lots of travel aspirations. I want to go to Antarctica, Greece—it will be exciting when we can plan some travel again. Right now, we're planning a road trip to Montana to some quieter areas with no one around.