News Story

Georgetown Nursing and Hoyas Lacrosse Alumnus Cares for Patients with COVID-19 in Maryland

April 22, 2020 – Ryan Hursey (NHS’18), a Georgetown BSN alumnus who played as a defensive midfielder on the Hoyas men’s lacrosse team, is a critical care nurse who has been caring for patients with COVID-19 in a medical intensive care unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

Ryan Hursey is in a clinical setting wearing his PPE and a Lacrosse shirt.
Ryan Hursey (NHS’18)

In early March, Hursey started providing care for patients who presented with COVID-19, as well as focusing most of his attention then on “rule-out” patients, or individuals who had not contracted coronavirus.

“UMMC began seeing our first positive cases come in, and part of our 29- bed ICU was converted into a Biocontainment Unit to be completely negative pressure to house ICU-level COVID-positive patients,” he said. 

‘Unique and Challenging’

“All of this has been extremely unique and challenging,” Hursey added. “We implement a team nursing strategy where an ICU nurse will be the primary care taker for 3 ICU-level COVID-positive patients while having two non-ICU-level nurses as support nurses through the shift. This has all been so new and presents different successes and challenges every shift.”

Each day of this extraordinary time contributes new memories — of both the hard moments and the hopeful ones — that will remain for a lifetime. 

“The one thing I continue to reflect on every single day when I leave UMMC is what a surreal moment in history all of this is,” he said. “The events and what is taking place right now are going to be memories that all of us in health care will continue to take with us forever. We will look back one day and tell our kids that we were on the front lines of a pandemic that shocked the entire world.”

Values and Teamwork 

Hursey draws on lessons from his time at Georgetown, both in the nursing major and on the lacrosse team.

“The teamwork aspect of my education in the NHS, as well as my participation on the men’s lacrosse team has been essential to my role during this crisis,” he said. “I would not be able to function in my role day to day without efficient communication and teamwork between myself and respiratory therapists, physicians, other nurses, and patient care techs. This collective excellence that I learned through my education at Georgetown has been a vital part of my contribution to my unit and to my patients. All of these values and skills were a direct result of my experience academically and athletically at Georgetown.”

Hursey noted that life at work “is consistently evolving,” including that shift from direct patient care to a team-based model within negative pressure units.   

“I believe we have discovered the most effective system we can have at this moment,” he said. “Each nurse can only spend a max of two hours in the negative pressure area at a time; therefore, it challenges you to cluster all your care for three ICU-level COVID patients into that short time. The team nursing model challenges all aspects of nursing care, including delegation, time management, efficient bedside care, and high-level decision-making. We continue to do the best we can and instill upgrades as they are made available.” 

A Bit of Advice

The Georgetown alumnus also offered a bit of advice: “Stay home and wash your hands!”