Georgetown BSN Alumna Works on COVID-19 Response in New York City
December 8, 2020 – Since March, Maggie Raymond (NHS’13), a BSN alumna, has been working in New York City on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Raymond, who received her master’s degree in nursing administration at NYU last year, says, cura personalis has been a guide in her life during the pandemic and that “Georgetown and emergency nursing have both taught me how to have grace under pressure, a skill that I’ve relied on heavily this past year.”
Question: Tell us where you have worked as a nurse since you graduated from Georgetown.
Raymond: I graduated from Georgetown University in May 2013. I worked as an emergency department nurse at Prince George’s County Hospital in Cheverly, Maryland, where I had completed my senior practicum with Dr. Colleen Norton.
In summer 2014, I moved back to New York, where I have been working in the emergency department at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital. I have been clinical manager (CM, assistant nurse manager) for the department since November 2017.
I graduated from New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing with my master’s in nursing administration in May 2019.
Question: How have you been helping address the COVID-19 pandemic?
Raymond: I have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working both clinically and administratively. My emergency department received its first patient in the first weeks of March. In my role as clinical manager, I have had to both support patients and their families, but also support my team as we faced what became one of the worst pandemics in history.
Administratively, I leveraged my nursing experience and knowledge of the department to work with our physician leadership team and to navigate the operational changes that were happening daily, if not hourly. My job was to help keep the nursing and ancillary support team of over 300 employees safe.
One of the biggest fears was the fear of the unknown. I took on the responsibility of communicating the nursing practice changes to the department with updates that were daily in the beginning. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks as our numbers have started to climb again, these updates have resumed.
Clinically, I was also at the bedside caring for patients infected with COVID. I assisted in many intubations, tapping out nurses who needed a break from the chaos – assisting further, as my own staff got put on quarantine for exposures. I helped to register and triage patients as they came in our front doors with oxygen saturations not compatible with life.
Question: What are some reflections you have about working as a nurse during this public health crisis?
Raymond: I feel very honored and privileged to have the skills and knowledge to make a difference during this pandemic. I could not imagine having to sit on the sidelines and watch helplessly. I am humbled by the patients who chose not to be intubated, allowing ventilators to be given to others. As an ED nurse, my job has always been to help save lives. It has been a difficult concept to come to terms with when we start palliative care on those who never previously would’ve been considered.
Question: How do you think Georgetown and your education as a nurse here on campus helped prepare you for your career and this moment?
Raymond: Cura personalis, care of the whole person, has been ringing in my ears since March. To avoid the spread of the disease and to keep the community safe, my hospital limited visitation to extraordinary circumstances only. I personally helped patient’s family members don and doff PPE, so that they could safely say goodbye to their loved one at the end of life.
As a nurse and a daughter and sister, I would never want my family member to suffer alone. Further as a manager, I’ve worked tirelessly to support the mental and emotional health of my team. Georgetown and emergency nursing have both taught me how to have grace under pressure, a skill that I’ve relied on heavily this past year.
Question: Please feel free to share any other thoughts you have.
Raymond: I offer my sincere gratitude to all of those who stayed home and abided by quarantine to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Their sacrifices made a world of difference.
Further, I’m deeply appreciative of all those who donated to the cause. Their generosity fed many staff members who were unable to food shop for fear of spreading the disease.
I am astounded by my team and their selflessness. They more than rose to the occasion. I am proud to have worked alongside each and every nurse, physician, advanced provider, and staff member.
Lastly, for those team members we lost, you’ll never be forgotten.
By Bill Cessato