Stephanie Flores ’19 is currently working as a step-down ICU nurse at Shady Grove Hospital. Her unit has had to change some areas to accept COVID-19 patients, especially ones with heart issues. She is the first in her family to graduate from high school and go to college. As a child, she remembers seeing a man in blue scrubs and a surgical cap, and she needed to meet him. She wanted to go beyond the call of duty and make sure that each patient receives the best care with the utmost kindness and compassion.
As a healthcare professional, she never thought she would have to deal with anything like this pandemic. “I didn’t realize how emotionally draining it would be for me as I have only been a nurse for eight months,” she says. “I have to make sure that I am gowned up and wearing protective gear. It is not easy to bundle our care and limit ourselves from going in and out of the patient’s rooms.” She is usually the one with patients before they die as family members cannot visit with them during this pandemic. Her motto is, “Treat patients like they are my family.”
Stephanie says, “I don’t feel like I am a hero. I’m doing what I love, what I need to do. We are learning as we’re working on patients with COVID-19. Each week we learn something new. We’re the hero for the patients and their families. Families won’t remember all that went into keeping the patient alive, but what happened in their last moments.”
She also wants people to take this pandemic very seriously and gets upset when she sees protesters. “People don’t see what we see in the hospital, so please do your best to protect yourselves.”