A permanent bond has developed among a group of nurses working in a COVID-19 intensive care unit. A bond they say will be with them forever in ink.
It’s a military symbol, the tip of a spear, but this one is followed by a heart.
“I have the largest one in the bunch,” nurse Tiffany Hughes said.
The tattoo is now on ankles, arms and wrists, marking these medical warriors for a reason.
“We’re the first to the front line to attack an enemy, to combat the enemy and to me that really explains why I chose nursing,” Christina Anderson said.
The nurses have dubbed their COVID-19 unit at Mission Hospital the “I” ICU. Each nurse volunteered to be here and each says what has evolved over the last months was unexpected… cohesion among the chaos.
“Some of us are falling apart and crying in the middle of a shift but that’s what makes this bond between us so great,” said Hughes.
In a day shift of 16 hours, they have seen what they call the sickest patients in their careers, and they are isolated away from the rest of the hospital for safety.
“We rely on each other, we all have bad days, we all understand what we’re going through. That’s why our bond is so close,” said Debbie Wooters.
They all talk about having to keep their families at bay and holding a patients hands, so they do not die alone and about never giving up.
“It’s for our patients,” Hughes said.
Someday the COVID-19 unit will disband, but they will always have this.
“This tattoo represents not only our commitment to each other but to our families and patients saying we’re going to fight through to see an end to this,” she added.