Page 23 - White Plains Hospital Annual Report 2019-2020
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    Ertha Small-Nicolas
patients presenting with flulike symptoms but were testing negative for influenza. COVID-19 had started trickling in.
The Emergency Department at White Plains Hospital was already the busiest in the County, seeing upward of 220 patients a day. So treating even greater numbers of severely ill, contagious people required extensive preparation, including erecting a screening tent in the parking lot, and sectioning off areas of the ED to contain exposures.
“At the height, we had everyone in PPE [personal protective equipment], and you couldn’t recognize who was who, so we had our names written on the outside of our equipment,” notes Small-Nicolas, who has been at the Hospital 23 years. “It was so busy – I don’t want to compare it to a scene in a television show in which people are running around — but that is what it was like, except it was organized.”
What was most difficult for Small-Nicolas and her staff was to care for patients without their loved ones there. They all tried to remain stoic, but it was a challenge to keep emotions at bay when you had to step up and be there for a patient’s physical, emotional and sometimes spiritual needs. She says that for her nurses, knowing that she or he was helpful in bridging that gap between patients and their families is something that they will never forget.
Amidst the heartbreaking loss and overwhelming work, there was also triumph. For Small-Nicolas, every discharge was the highlight of her day: music was played as the patient was rolled through the halls to hang their butterfly on the wall and continue
with the next phase of their recovery. “It was so touching,” she says. “For us as frontline workers to see patients go back to their family or to rehab to continue their healing process is the best memory I believe we’ve had.”
Last year, registered nurse Doreen Dozier was honored with her 40-year Employee Service Award, with a well-deserved retirement finally within reach. Then coronavirus swooped in. “I came home from the Hospital on the first day and my husband said, ‘Put your papers in’,” says Dozier. “But I wasn’t ready to retire. I told him, ‘God will tap me on the shoulder when it’s time for me to go’.”
  2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT
Doreen Dozier
She was redeployed from ambulatory surgery, where she has worked for the past 22 years as an OR nurse, to a closed medical-surgical unit on 5I, caring for COVID-19 patients who demanded constant care. Her fellow med-surg nurses helped her get up to speed quickly with medication procedures, unit protocol and processes, and also the newer versions of equipment she no longer works with regularly, such as IV pumps.
Her decision to keep working through a health crisis was not taken lightly. Her husband has pre-existing health issues and her 11-year-old granddaughter lives with them. Except for an occasional elbow bump or tap on the head, Dozier didn’t touch her husband or granddaughter for an entire month.

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