Meet Badass Jodie B. // BSN ’18
Neuro/Spine Unit Nurse. Travel Nurse. Family Nurse Practitioner Student.
Jodie chose to work in a COVID-19 hotspot over Hawaii because “it’s what nurses do.”
Jodie B. fulfilled her commitment by being in the hardest hit COVID areas.
When Jodie Bradley (BSN ‘18), decided to become a travel nurse, she had no idea that it would put her in the middle of a global pandemic.
“I grew up in a military family and I was a flight attendant for a while so I guess you could say I was born to be on the road,” she explained. “Travel nursing was exactly what I was looking for and I wanted to go to Hawaii to practice. Then the COVID-19 crisis hit. I called the agency I was working with and told them to send me wherever they needed me most. Wherever I could help the most. It turned out I was headed to New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas of the nation.”
When friends and family heard about her decision, their reaction was understandable. “No one was excited.” Jodie added, “For me it was a calling. I knew I should be here. Nurses just want to help – it’s what we do.” When Jodie arrived in New Jersey, the entire hospital was a “COVID” hospital. “I arrived with about 40 other travelers. We quickly became like a little family.” Jodie continued, “I thought I would see respiratory symptoms in all of the patients, but the symptoms are so varied it was shocking. We had people who needed treatments that were all very different.” From Jodie’s experience, the stories you hear about COVID-19 are sadly true. “Supplies were a challenge. They’re still a challenge. We had to reuse gowns and masks. Keeping a mask all day is crazy, but we had no choice. We’re still reusing masks.” She added, “I was worried about infection because we’re using the same masks over and over. A lot of nurses got COVID because of it.”
Jodie described the realities of treating patients during a pandemic. “I was prepared to do hard work, but the emotional component of the work is huge. It’s hard. The emotional manipulation of families is hard. There have been multiple times a patient is dying, and we would call the family and hold the phone up to the patient’s ear. Patients die alone.”
With the nation reopening, Jodie is concerned that people may let their guard down. “It’s frustrating to see people acting like this is over.” She added, “I try to limit my own exposure to the community because I know how dangerous the virus is. I hate to see people out and about and not being safe.”
Jodie finished her assignment in June and took some time off to rest before taking another assignment. She explains, “I need to recover from this. The emotional and physical demands of nursing during COVID-19 are hard to understand unless you’ve been there. We get a lot of love from the community – cards and lunches and thank you notes – but I still need to take time.”
As a travel nurse, Jodie gets to choose her next assignment. “It’s a challenging career being a travel nurse but if you’re a free spirit it’s a beautiful experience. My next stop? Kauai! And if they have COVID-19 challenges there, I will volunteer to help. It’s what nurses do.”
As a travel nurse, Jodie gets to choose her next assignment, and she will be there to serve the community.