Honoring Heroic N.J. Nurses in the Pandemic: Hanna Gerke
Hanna Gerke, BSN, RN, CEN, NJSNA Region 6 member, has been a nurse for 11 years, with most of those years spent in the ER. Although she loves the ER, recently she has been part of the float pool at her hospital. Being an ER nurse, she thought she had experienced everything from patients being born to patients dying. However, Hanna explains, “I never thought that patients sick with COVID-19 would have such an impact on me. I have been floated to the ICUs and have taken care of patients who have been on ventilators for a long period of time without improving and eventually passing. It seemed like every day someone died. It made me feel so helpless and sad. Talking to families over the phone made it even more difficult, as they couldn’t be there for their loved ones. I would cry on the way home.”
Fortunately, Hanna recently had some happy moments. Hanna stated, “Just the other day, I did FaceTime with the wife of my elderly patient. The look of love on this patient’s face was priceless. They were both incredibly thankful. If they only knew how happy this made me. I was glad I was able to help this patient feel better as that was my purpose. I drove home that day feeling optimistic and excited.”
Hanna is grateful to work with so many amazing nurses during this pandemic.