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Krystian Richardson, Clinical Nurse Manager of the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center Emergency Department says contrary to what people may think, their emergency room is no longer flooded with patients worried about COVID-19.

INTEGRIS ER Nurse Stands Ready for COVID-19 Surge

 Krystian Richardson is the Clinical Nurse Manager of the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center Emergency Department. She says contrary to what people may think, their emergency room is no longer flooded with patients worried about COVID-19. She says thankfully the public heeded the warning to stay away and says now - is the quiet before the storm. “Like many other hospitals, our overall volume has decreased for the moment, so we are taking this time to plan and prepare for the predicted surge.”

No matter which model you look at, they all seem to indicate that Oklahoma will start seeing an influx of coronavirus cases in mid to late April. But as we’ve witnessed in other parts of the world and country, this virus has a mind of its own.
“I’m not scared,” states Richardson. “We all know what we are doing, we are more than competent. But I am anxiously awaiting what is to come. There are a lot of studies and research with predictions of numbers and when things will really start for us. So, waiting to see what happens and knowing it is out of our control causes some anxiety.”

But she knows her purpose and says that gives her confidence and resolve. “What keeps me going is that to really help stop the spread of this virus and to save people’s lives, we have to be here.” She adds, “We can’t just throw in the towel and walk away, just think what would happen. It would be no different than if all teachers threw in the towel, or police officers threw in the towel, or cashiers. Everybody plays an important role and if one role quits, then we all lose. Health care is our passion. We are here to help. We were made for these moments.”

Still, Richardson isn’t comfortable being called a hero. “We don’t go into nursing or health care in general, to only be there for the good times. We are here when it’s fun, when it’s challenging, when it’s scary and when it’s hard. The REAL heroes are the people who have been forced to quit their jobs, or they’ve been laid off, and then despite all that, they’ve chosen to donate their supplies to us. Those are the real heroes.”

Richardson admits this type of community support gives health care workers the strength they need to weather this storm. “It’s overwhelming the amount of generosity and kindness we have seen throughout all of this.” She continues, “Our community really is incredible. That’s the kind of thing that keeps us going. We are working hard and people not only see it, they are thanking us for it. Food, donations, letters. It’s all been incredible. I know we can’t always thank each individual person, although we try, I hope everyone knows how incredibly grateful we are for them.”