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On the COVID-19 Front Lines With Nurses During Nurses Week


What is it like being a nurse on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic? In honor of Nurses Week, the Cedars-Sinai Newsroom reached out to some of our #HealthcareHeroes to find out.

COVID-19 Front Lines: Marlon Bustamante, RN

Months into Caring for COVID-19 Patients, Emergency Department Nurse Says Facts, Community Support Are Key

When Marlon Bustamante, RN, meets a COVID-19 patient in Cedars-Sinai's Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department, he doesn’t know how long their illness will last or what path it may take.

"It's scary because it's not consistent," Bustamante said in a video diary. "It hits people hard, and some people, it doesn't hit them as hard, so you never know which case that may be for the patient in front of you."

While researchers at Cedars-Sinai and around the world work to better understand why the disease has such disparate effects, nurses like Bustamante are armed with one key weapon in the battle against the unknown: facts.

"I try to give them facts that most people are able to are able to come out of this just fine," Bustamante said. "They may feel miserable, but with supportive measures--resting, sleeping, eating healthy--usually, most of the time, they'll still get through this just fine."

Bustamante said these conversations with patients and their families are critical. Just as critical, he said, is the resilience of the healthcare team caring for those patients.

"I think to be in the ER, you have to have some sort of resiliency and I think more so now," he said. "That's been inspirational for me, I think the resiliency of our staff to show up to work, to come to work, knowing the threat, just being there for one another."

Bustamante said he's bolstered by the outpouring of praise and respect he and his fellow nurses have seen from the community.

"I feel honored to be recognized so well, but going into the nursing field, it's our calling and it's what we do," Bustamante said. "We signed up for it."

COVID-19 Front Lines: Melissa Rue, RN

ICU Nurse Says Easiest Way to Support Healthcare Professionals is Through Simple Kindness

Intensive Care Unit nurse Melissa Rue, RN, says that the support of the Cedars-Sinai community has helped her and her colleagues power through the COVID-19 pandemic

"We've had a couple of donors provide us with lunches and dinners, which is so helpful because it's one less thing that we have to think about," she said in a video diary.

She said donations of coffee and snacks really do give her and her colleagues a boost. But there's an even easier way members of the community can support healthcare workers, Rue said. And it's simple: be nice.

"Continue to spread positivity," she said. "I know that during this time, fear just makes your mind do and say things that you just don't mean. But I think it's really important to just continue to be nice, because you never know what someone else is experiencing."

"It's easy to try to find someone to blame it on, or a country to blame it on, or a specific community to blame it on, but it's nobody's fault, and we just have to continue to be nice and understand that we're going to get through this," Rue said.