Riverside nurse’s experiences of COVID front lines

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Erin McIntosh (front) poses with her colleagues at Riverside Community Hospital. Among the gear nurses regularly have to wear while treating COVID patients are face shields, N-95 masks, and respirators. Photo courtesy of Erin McIntosh.

There’s a bit of optimism on the pandemic front. Cases are trending down, and projections show ICU capacity increasing in the coming weeks. Still, health care workers are facing long shifts in overcrowded hospitals.

Through the darkest days of the holiday season surge, rapid response nurse Erin McIntosh recorded audio diaries logging her thoughts and experiences as deadly records were set daily. Her hospital, Riverside Community, was one of the most overwhelmed.

In a compilation of her entries, KCRW hears about the fear patients are struck with when they know the end is near, the family toll nurses deal with, and small moments of gratitude that still find a way to bubble up in dark times.