SEATAC, Wash. — Resources are stretched thin at hospitals in New York and health care workers are struggling to keep up with the growing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, which is why a Seattle nurse is going there to try and make a difference.
"Obviously there is fear involved as a nurse you sign up for a lot of this stuff," said Registered Nurse Samantha Schulte on Saturday as she prepared to leave from Sea-Tac International Airport.
Schulte works for Neighborcare and has been part of their coronavirus testing and working with patients since the outbreak started.
"I was one of the first to be like 'put me in I want to do that'" Schulte said. "So, I've been around the COVID population," she explained.
Schulte went to school in New York and said a recent call from an old nursing school friend changed everything for her.
"He was experiencing things he's never experienced before," she said. "He is a firefighter as well and he said he hasn't had a day off in a month and a half."
She said she knew she had to go and help and her bosses agreed. She's now headed to New Rochelle, New York to care for patients in a COVID-19 ICU unit for the next four weeks.
"To me, the more I can do the more active I am the more I feel passionate about what I'm up to as a nurse," she said.
She is taking her grandfather's stethoscope as a special token and the love and support from her friends and family. Her dad is a wildland firefighter who she said has never shied away from running towards danger to help others.
"I feel like he's instilled a lot of that strength in me, knowing I have their support and love makes it even easier," she explained.
As she heads off for the known and unknown, she is quick to push away the spotlight saying her story is not unique.
"I am not the only one doing this, there is a Facebook wall flooded with nurses saying where can I go to help?"