USM nursing grad on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

USM nursing grad on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - When Travis Rodgers graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2016, he never expected he would be on the front lines of a worldwide pandemic just four years later.

“Trying to get them the best care possible, but it was hard because everything was just happening so fast,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers originally worked in the neurological ICU at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

When the pandemic hit, he moved into the COVID-19 ICU.

“You see everything in the news and you hear stories from people that have been on it or have had it and that’s probably the last place you’re volunteering to go to,” Rodgers said.

In the beginning, Rodgers said everything was moving at hyperspeed.

“So many things were changing,” Rodgers said. “Literally if I was off for more than one day or sometimes if I was off for a day, policies would completely change and it would be like ‘This research came out and we were using this drug so now we’re using this drug.‘”

The hospital was filling up.

Typically around 100 patients are in the ICU at Ochsner, in March nearly 170 filled the beds.

It got to the point where the hospital needed to bring in outside help.

“We were bringing in outside agency nursing and a lot of nurses from other departments.

Numbers have fallen since that time and Rodgers credits that to the use of personal protective equipment and awareness of the virus.

He adds that people need to continue to pay attention to signs and symptoms that they have the virus and get checked out if need be.

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