Portneuf Nurses Headed to the Rescue in New Jersey

From wars to pandemics, when the world needs healing and support, nurses historically rise to the challenge. With the number of infections of COVID-19 increasing daily, nurses are needed now more than ever in hot spots across the country. Today, two Portneuf Medical Center registered nurses boarded an eastbound plane fully prepared to spend the next two weeks caring for COVID patients in New Jersey.

“I felt very protective of my team and hesitated for just a moment before asking if anyone would be willing to spend up to two weeks at one of our sister hospitals in New Jersey in one of the hardest hit COVID areas of the country,” said Amy Hemsley, RN, MSN, Director Critical Care Services at Portneuf Medical Center. “Six of our ICU nurses volunteered. As a team, we opted to share two nurses for a short period of time.”

Jill McQuary, RN, CCRN has been on the Portneuf ICU team for 13 years and Brittiney Curzon, RN, CCRN has been with Portneuf for 11 years, 7 of which have been in the ICU. These two nurses will serve at either Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center or Pascack Valley Medical Center, the two New Jersey hospitals in the Ardent Health Services family.

“The quality of nurses here is top-notch, said Charles Ivester, MD, Portneuf ICU Medical Director. “NJ is lucky to get them.”

“I feel we can bring some relief to their healthcare team,” said Curzon. “We have an opportunity to help save lives and to learn how to manage the challenges of treating large numbers of patients fighting the disease process of COVID-19.”

Both nurses are aware of the inherent risk of being on the front line of patient care, but they recognize that their fellow nurses in NJ are in serious need of intensive care and emergency trained nurses to supply the demand for care.

“Our sister hospital is so blessed to have these two talented nurses,” Hemsley said. “Our appreciation and pride will be with them as they enter infection hotspots, care for infected patients, and courageously put themselves at higher risk in order to support those in need.”

“New Jersey has been on the front lines for a while and I feel calm and hopeful that we will bring a sense of relief to tired nurses,” McQuary said. “When we return, we will follow Portneuf’s return to work policy and spend upward of 14 days in isolation before we return to our ICU.”

“There is an attitude at Portneuf of getting things done and as a team, we are very well prepared and ready,” said Ivester.

While nurses and providers are front-line support, the resolution of the global issue still lies in the hands of community members. The best way to support the healthcare community is to stay home, self-isolate, and practice good personal hygiene to disrupt the spread of the virus.