As the battle against COVID-19 continues, we want to keep showing our love and appreciation to those on the front lines fighting for us all. It’s because of the first responders, doctors, and nurses bravely risking their health to care for those affected by COVID-19 that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic.
To give back to these dedicated COVID warriors, we are sharing their stories and ways you can help them, too. This week we spoke with Brian Pisano, a registered nurse in the cardiovascular ICU at NYU Langone Medical Center. Read on for his story, and how you can help Brian and his unit at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Have a health care provider you want to submit for a feature? Email their contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Make sure to go to your windows/balconies nightly to cheer all of our incredible healthcare professionals at 7:00PM each evening.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Brian Pisano. I’m originally from Staten Island, but recently moved to Hoboken.
What’s your occupation? How long have you worked there?
I am a Registered Nurse in the Cardiovascular ICU at NYU Langone Medical Center. I’ve worked there for the past 3 years.
What was your original career plan? How did you get into this career?
Nursing was my second Bachelor’s Degree. I went to school knowing I wanted to do something in the medical field. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I found my passion for nursing.
So far, what has been the highlight of your career?
This is a tough one. In the condition my patients are in, when they are able to walk out of my unit or be transferred to a lower level of care are some of the most rewarding experiences of my job, This is especially true for the heart and lung transplant patients because I build a relationship with them pre-op and post-op.
What has been the hardest day/scariest day on the job?
In the Cardiovascular Surgical ICU, any day has the potential to be the scariest day on the job. The patients we see on a day to day basis are in an incredibly critical status. However, to be honest, once our floor has turned into a COVID-19 floor, seeing how quickly things can take a turn for the worst has brought scary to a new level that I have never seen before.
Who is someone you look up to/your hero?
Someone who I have looked up to in more ways than one, but who inspired me to become a nurse, is my mother. She has been a nurse her whole life, and to this day is on the frontline fighting COVID-19.
What qualities does a person need to do your job?
It takes a special person to be a nurse, and I don’t mean that lightly. You need to be on your toes at all times, thinking critically, with a vast knowledge of medical understanding. At the same time, you need to be a person of compassion and laughs for the patient in need. I’m lucky to work with people who contribute all of these qualities, and more, to my floor.
What’s something that people wouldn’t expect about what you do on a daily basis?
On this “new daily basis” that we have been working through with COVID-19, one element that people may not expect is the amount of innovation that, as nurses, we have to do. We have figured out a way to move the IV pumps outside of the room while still monitoring the patients. We have figured out new room configurations to give nurses the least exposure to the virus, but at the same time giving the patients the care they need.
Describe a typical day on the job.
I work night shifts, so I start my commute while most people are headed home to eat dinner. Once I get to NYU, I head up to my floor, get my assignment, and get a report from the day shift nurse about my patients. From here, I assess my patients and develop a plan for the night with the other staff so we can best support our patients.
How do you spend your free time?
When not socially isolating, I am a high school football coach at Saint Peter’s Boys High School. I also enjoy working out, cooking, and watching Netflix.
Are there organizations that you feel strongly about and support? Tell us about them.
As someone who works in a high school football program, I always try to support local sports camps and programs to encourage younger kids to play. I always enjoyed playing sports and looked up to the older mentors. I hope to be that for other kids.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a healthcare worker during this pandemic?
Every healthcare worker right now is facing the horrible situation of rationing PPE to ensure we are all safe. On top of that, caring for one patient with COVID-19, requires an incredible amount of care and time from a nurse. I could be in one room for more than an hour treating a patient, while still having to care for other patients immediately after. In an ideal world, I would have a 1:1 situation with my patients. However, due to the amount of cases we are seeing, nurses are forced to care for more patients as best we can.
What are the most common symptoms you’re coming across?
In my unit I don’t see common symptoms that patients are presenting upon arrival to the hospital. By the time patients get to my floor, 99% of them are intubated on ventilators. At this point, they are all showing high fever and require high O2 delivery from the ventilator.
What is one thing you want the public to know about the virus?
This virus can affect everyone. It does not matter how old you are or if you have prior medical conditions. Yes, the elderly and immunocompromised are at a greater risk, but everyone can get COVID-19.
Do you know anyone personally affected by the virus?
I am fortunate to not know anyone outside of patient care who is affected.
How can we help? What can we do?
Staying home is the best thing people can do. Staying home means staying in your home. Going to a friend’s apartment, even if you are both showing no symptoms, is putting us all at risk. I am thankful for the precautions the Mayor has taken. Now it is in our hands to fulfill these precautions.
If someone wanted to donate food/supplies/etc to you/your team, how could they do that?
We are so incredibly thankful for the supplies, food, and support that we have received. I look forward to the 7:00PM cheer as I drive to work each night. If anyone has donations, they can email me at email@example.com and I can put them in touch with the proper person. Thank you!
Have a health care provider you want to submit for a feature? Tell us on Instagram: @TheHobokenGirl!
PS: Make sure to go to your windows/balconies nightly to cheer all of our incredible healthcare professionals at 7:00PM each evening.