STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Nicholas Laudano is an intensive care unit nurse at St. Luke's Monroe Campus near Stroudsburg. He has seen first-hand the impact COVID-19 has had on people, including those in his profession.
"Being a nurse in general, I'd say it's a hard job but then add to that. You have more people coming in for help, persistently sicker and requiring, in short order, some of the most aggressive therapies that we have to offer, I'd say it's a really, really hard job, both physically and emotionally at this point," Laudano said.
Laudano spends 12 or more hours of his day at the hospital caring for patients. He says while being able to help is rewarding, a dark cloud looms once it's time to go home.
"There is a persistent fear that we will bring this virus home to our families, kind of like a vigilance of the guilt that you would feel that if something happened to your family because of you and because of the job that you've chosen to do."
It's why wearing personal protective equipment is so important. Laudano says part of his new normal is suiting up into a battery-powered air helmet, among other coverings.
"Part of my preparation is to make sure that the battery is powered up and the device itself I can turn on OK. After I check those things on, I strap the belt around my waist and put the hose onto this helmet and make sure I can feel the airflow over my face. I then put a pair of gloves on, a disposable yellow gown, an additional pair of gloves. I do all of this to kind of minimize any exposure to any virus particles getting on me," Laudano said.
Monroe County has more than 1,200 confirmed cases of the virus, and while the numbers are slowing, health care workers say it's important for people to continue following safety guidelines to ensure the safety of your families as well as those front-line workers who take care of all of us.