As the COVID-19 pandemic slams Massachusetts particularly hard, health care workers have put out an urgent call for help. That call is being answered. One young nurse didn’t think twice about moving halfway across the country to lend a much needed helping hand.
Mikayla Utyro packed up her car and golden retriever, Millie, and left her home outside of Minneapolis for Massachusetts.
“Luckily, Minnesota has not been hit very hard from any of the corona stuff. I mean we have cases, but nothing near this bad,” Utyro said.
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According to Minnesota’s Department of Public Health, they have a little more than 3,000 positive COVID-19 cases. The 25-year-old, who is also a volleyball coach, has been a nurse for almost two years. She said her hours have been slashed. Little work means little pay, so Utyro jumped at the opportunity to come to Massachusetts.
“I give everyone who’s been in hospitals on the East Coast since the beginning so much credit. I mean I didn’t understand really what is was like until I got here and now I see and I can’t imagine being here from the beginning,” she said.
Utryo started Monday at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and is assigned to the COVID floor. She said the hours are long and the work is tiresome but amazing.
“This is my first week and I will probably sleep for 12 hours today because I have a fake day off and then get back and get at it. But, yeah, it’s exhausting,” Utyro said.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association said it does not have an exact number of how many traveling nurses have come to Massachusetts to help out during the pandemic. The organization’s president said they are incredibly thankful, especially with so many nurses becoming infected while taking care of COVID-19 patients.
“We are so grateful these nurses came to help us during this surge. As many of you know hospitals have been staffing to bare-bones as a result of that. We weren’t prepared for the surge,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, MNA president.
Utyro said nothing could’ve prepared her for a once in a generation pandemic.
“It’s a really humbling experience and it’s a good feeling knowing you’re doing as much as you can in such an uncertain time,” she said.
Utryo has a 13-week contract to work at South Shore Hospital. She said she’s guaranteed forty hours per week.
Source: Boston 25 News