He physically wakes up at the crack of dawn every day but his mind has been on overdrive for hours before that, contemplating the latest COVID-19 news and the best care for each of his patients. As a brand-new nurse in the CentraState Medical Center critical care unit (CCU), Chamberlain University Bachelor of Science in Nursing alum Michael Migliore, BSN, RN, said it’s tough and emotionally grueling but he wouldn’t change a thing.
“Nurses take an oath to care for patients no matter what is going on and I believe that oath is going to stand strong.” When asked what motivates him to go to work every day despite ever-changing work conditions, he said, “There is no better feeling in the world.”
Even though most of Michael’s COVID-positive patients are not engaging in two-way communications, that doesn’t prevent him from giving them the same care he would otherwise. “Most of my patients are vented and sedated but I still speak with them while caring for them and remind them that their loved ones are praying for their well-being. I knew working in a CCU would be hard but I didn’t think it would be this emotional every single shift.”
Going the Extra Mile
And despite the daily tug on his heartstrings, Michael, one of many nurses Chamberlain honors as a Portrait of Courage during this year's National Nurses Week celebration, searched out a way to further Step Forward during this pandemic. In addition to his three 12-hour shifts each week at CentraState, he picked up another three-day per week job at a local art center helping test those possibly infected with the disease. “It’s a lot but I feel fine and I want to do everything I can to help people. While I feel anxious to go into work sometimes, I know I have to tough it out and help the general public as much as possible and that includes being there as a great nurse.”
As a newbie at the hospital during an unprecedented time, Michael knows the learning curve is steep. “I definitely feel like I am pulling my weight. I am able to administer medications, complete nurse charting and even provide an extra set of hands to any of the other nurses working on the unit.”
Aside from trying to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and limit his bathroom trips, his other main challenge each morning is adequately describing patient needs for the doctors. “I want to advocate for my patients as much as possible because supplies and vents are limited.” His current reality is much different than what he experienced during clinical rotations. “I am seeing stuff that seems so surreal”—such as multiple patients in a room designed for one and nurses who are stressed beyond capacity. But he’s also experienced an outpouring of love from his hospital team and the community. “We get food delivered at all times of the day. People cheer for us when we leave. That makes it all worth it.”
Educating the Public
Outside of the healthcare setting, Michael tries to educate those around him. He recently commented on a social media post from a former classmate and others who blatantly ignored social distancing and who remain firm in their stance that the disease is not real. “I am seeing this virus claim lives every single day and I was attacked. Can people overreact when their parents, siblings or other loved ones pass away suddenly from a disease like COVID-19?”
Fortunately, Michael’s friends and family—some of whom he hasn’t connected with in a while—are reaching out to show support. “They constantly remind me of the reasons I decided to become a nurse and I am proud to fight the battle against COVID-19 because of them.”
When he’s off duty, the New Jersey native tries to rest, read, watch TV, reach out to his one of his five siblings or talk with friends through text and video calls. “It’s not the same as going out and actually seeing people. I really miss that. I miss my family. I miss restaurants. It’s hard to decompress when nothing is open and when you are afraid of infecting others.”
To combat his overarching fear of contracting COVID, Michael self-quarantines every day after work and on his days off. With hundreds of positive cases at the hospital and testing potentially positive patients at his other job, Michael must take extra precautions. “I know I am in the hot zone constantly with COVID-19 so I am doing everything in my power to make sure I do not spread the disease in any way. This virus is very dangerous, and I don’t want it to mess with any more lives than it already has.”
Reflecting on lessons learned during his first four months on the job, Michael said, “I think this pandemic really teaches nurses the importance of community education. People are scared and nurses can help calm the fear.”
Appreciative and Thankful
We appreciate your commitment to the continued well-being of our Chamberlain community and support during this unprecedented time. Please visit the Chamberlain University website for the latest updates regarding COVID-19.
By Heather L Hurtado
More from Nurses Week
Request More Information
To receive the Chamberlain University Program Guide, including associated career paths, please select a program of study.