Southern APRN Redeploys Twice During COVID-19 Pandemic

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“I want to thank everyone on the front lines for their incredible work,” says Dale Watterson, an APRN at Nashua Primary Care.

She has shown her appreciation for our health care heroes by joining them in their work. Recently, she finished her second redeployment to the ICU at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, serving as a Hospitalist for a month. During the first wave of the pandemic, from March to the beginning of June of 2020, she served as an APRN with the Intensivists in the ICU.

“I think my first redeployment was a little more nerve wrecking in a different way. Back then, we didn’t know what we were dealing with,” she says. “This time, we know more about COVID-19 and how to treat it but the number of patients needing care is much higher. On top of that, the staff on the unit have been doing this for a full year and they are tired. I am glad I am able to be of help.”

While the role is very different from her role at Nashua Primary Care, Watterson is more than qualified to care for patients in the ICU. She previously worked as an ICU nurse for 16 years. She says being in the ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a different atmosphere. “There’s a lot of emotions, but you do everything you can to care for your patients and be there for them while their families cannot be there.”

To help protect herself, her family, and her patients, Watterson says she changes immediately when she gets home from work and keeps her things separate from everything else.

“I worry about bringing COVID-19 home anytime I walk out my door. But I feel like when you’re walking into a COVID-19 positive patient’s room, you already have the beast right in front of you, you know what you’re walking into so you do the best you can to protect yourself, your patients, your colleagues, and anybody that you are in contact with. Luckily, SolutionHealth has made sure that we have the proper personal protective equipment to keep us safe,” Watterson says.

She has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and urges everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they can. She also says that even if you’re vaccinated you need to remain vigilant and still need to wear a mask that keeps your nose and mouth covered, wash your hands, and continue to social distance.

“I was nervous about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but it had to be done. There was some relief having received it. If I had to get a third or fourth one I would if that’s what it takes to end this pandemic,” Watterson adds.