Indianapolis nurse signs up to work in New York City amid the pandemic

Hoosiers Finding Hope

NEW YORK CITY – Hoosiers are finding hope and now offering to help on the front lines in other states.

Registered nurse Brook Morris is a traveling nurse in Indianapolis. She flew to New York City in April and will now work at least four shifts per week for eight weeks.

“I’m a faithful woman, so I had been praying about it and felt called to go out and to help,” she explained. “Especially because I am an ICU nurse.”

Morris said she shared her interest on Facebook and was very quickly assigned.

“It’s about what I expected,” she told CBS4. “I kind of prepared myself for the worst. It’s not optimal. But it’s bearable.”

New York City has, for weeks, been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. The state has so far experienced more than 10,000 deaths. Their death toll amounts for nearly 50 percent of all US COVID-19 fatalities.

Morris couldn’t say which hospital she is working for but said she’s experienced it all so far.

“It’s very daunting, physically and emotionally, on all healthcare workers,” she said.

Instead of describing the tragedy she has endured, Morris wanted to share something else she has experienced while working on the front lines.

“I think the piece that the news doesn’t capture is the humanity from all of it,” she pointed out. “Everybody is all hands-on deck. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, environmental service workers, the people that are keeping the units clean and taking out the trash and things? They don’t get noticed enough!”

Morris described the camaraderie and teamwork as “phenomenal.”

“And the crazy amount of support we’re getting from people in the city,” she said. “There’s writing on the sidewalk in chalk. People honk. They wave and they say thank you. I think the coolest thing is that every single night at 7 p.m., in honor of shift change, the entire city cheers.  I know people have seen the videos going around on Facebook, but that is very real. That is happening every single night and it’s not just for 10 seconds or 30 seconds. It’s a solid five minutes.”

She said people hang out their windows, bang on pots and pans and use blow horns to make noise.

CBS4 asked whether she has witnessed any miraculous recoveries in her first week of work.

“I have,” she exclaimed. “God is good!”

Morris said it has been a little challenging adjusting to a new workflow in a new environment. Still, that’s something she is used to in her role as a traveling nurse. In the meantime, she pointed out that every medical staff member is working in uncharted territory with nowhere to turn.

“It’s a novel disease that none of us have seen before,” she pointed out. “Any ICU nurse is used to having the answers at least somewhere. If you don’t have them, then you have a doctor to ask or a nurse to ask or the academic resource to reference and that’s not the case this time.”

“Have you cried yet?” asked anchor Angela Brauer.

“I have,” Morris replied. “This is really bizarre, but it has been more happy tears of, ‘Wow that was amazing that we all did that, that we were all hands-on deck and that we all came together.’”

Morris said she is well supplied with personal protective equipment while in New York. She is not scared of working on the front lines.

“I just believe that when you’re called, you’re chosen, and you go. And I personally believe, in a sense, that the day that were born and the day we leave this earth is predetermined. So, if it’s my time during this eight weeks, then it’s my time. And if it’s covid, it’s covid,” she said.

Knowing Morris relies on her faith to get her through, CBS4 asked whether there is one phrase or Bible verse that she lives by.

“Be the Light, Matthew 5:14. I love that verse,” she said. “I’ve really been living by that. My whole purpose was to be the light in a dark time.”

Morris said that this crisis has not only reaffirmed that she has answered her calling, but reminded her what is truly important.

“Hopefully, people look at life differently and don’t take things for granted in the same way. I have a totally different perspective on life and priorities and what matters,” she said.

“I hope that’s the good that comes out of this–that people realize life is precious.”

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