“American Nurse Heroes” — a televised documentary produced by the American Nurse Journal, NBC journalist Al Roker, and the American Nurses Association — spotlighted above-and-beyond COVID-19 caregivers nationwide.
It included the exhausting, harrowing, frustrating, fear-filled, and emotionally wrenching first-person account of Shumi Mazzacano, an intensive care nurse at Doylestown Hospital.
The 16-month pandemic forced Mazzacano, a 12-year veteran, to tap professional and personal reserves she wasn’t even sure she had.
“My role as a nurse this past year is unlike anything I ever imagined,” she said.
Pandemic quarantine protocols quieted the streets of Doylestown. But inside the hospital was, she said, an “absolute war zone.” The daily din included constant medical device alarms and raised voices trying to be heard through safety shields.
The required patient isolation was sometimes gut-wrenching.
She particularly remembered a dying mother, whose adult daughter was barred from the hospital out of an abundance of caution.
“I didn’t know how much time [the mother] had,” Mazzacano recalled. “How was she going to see her daughter? How was the daughter going to see her mother? How were they going to say their final goodbyes?”
The nurse used what technology she had on hand — her personal cell phone — to connect them.
“I wanted to make sure that they had that moment. That they had that opportunity.”
She considers it an honor to have been part of a very private, very intimate, parent-child exchange.
It has changed her.
And that change is still with her, redefining her traditional role as caregiver.
“I was the go-between the daughter and the mother,” Mazzacano concludes.
Although the documentary’s television run has ended, additional information is at American Nurse Heroes.