Staff Spotlight: A Nurse’s Calling

In theory, it sounds simple: just stay home.

No gatherings. No outings.

Just stay home.

But for Middle School 2 nurse Colleen McCormick, the sweeping mandate issued by the Department of Health wasn’t quite so simple.

Prior to joining the Blackstone Valley Prep family in November 2018, Colleen cared for patients as a Level I Trauma/Surgical Intensive Care Unit nurse at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago and as a nurse in Massachusetts General Hospital’s multidisciplinary Intensive Care Unit, Blake 12.

When the coronavirus outbreak became widespread in the United States, Colleen knew she couldn’t just stay home. She reached out to Lifespan and CharterCARE, networks that own and operate hospitals and care facilities throughout Rhode Island, to inquire if and how she could help. (ICU nurses have extensive experience using ventilators and caring for patients in respiratory distress.)

“Hearing my friends who are at the bedside ask for help is all that it took [for me to step up]. They are my work family and I will do what I can, big or small, to help them. I also think it is my responsibility to my community to help in any way I can, and my specific skill set is what they need.”

Beginning Monday, April 20, Colleen will care for patients in a COVID-19 ICU as a full-time, overnight floor nurse at a local hospital. If that weren’t enough, Colleen also volunteers with RI Responds, an initiative that deploys medical staff to areas of need quickly and efficiently.

When asked if she could share a piece of advice or a word of encouragement with her MS2 scholars, she said, “I find that my scholars and coworkers help me more than I help them. My scholars give me strength and show me love, and that love, in turn, is what I show my patients. When I feel weak I find strength from my scholars, and for that, I want to thank them.

She continues: “Stay strong. Stay home. And know that although we can’t see each other in person, the MS2 staff is just a phone call away.”

Colleen McCormick