Meet the 2 ICU Nurses That Moved From Colorado to Hoboken to Help COVID-19 Patients

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In times of need, many of us come together to lend a helping hand. Both locally and nationally, individuals from all walks of life are working together to help fight COVID-19. Two women, in particular, that have come a very {literal} long way to lend a helping hand, are ICU travel nurses Charity Neimann and Kelly Ritchie. These two heroes came all the way to Hoboken from Colorado to help out at the Englewood Hospital during the pandemic. Hoboken Girl got the chance to chat with these two healthcare heroes about life on the job, challenges they’ve faced, and a whole lot more. Here is their story:

kelly ritchie charity neimann nurses hoboken health heroes

^ Charity is on the left and Kell on the right!

The Journey to Hoboken

Both Kelly and Charity are ICU nurses back in their home state of Colorado at Saint Anthony Hospital in Lakewood. Of course, Colorado is nowhere near Hoboken, but being dedicated to helping out those in need, Charity and Kelly packed their bags and headed to the Mile Square to be a part of the community here while they help out at the Englewood Hospital.

“Having done previous travel assignments, when the pandemic hit, I knew I wanted to go to one of the heavy hit populations and help as much as I could,” Charity explained. “After hearing about how bad the east coast was getting hit by COVID, Kelly and I looked into a crisis position so we could help where the most need for nurses was.”

For Kelly, however, the trip was a bit more personal. One of her good friends lives in Hoboken, so the need for help arose, Kelly knew what she had to do.

“When we heard the need for nurses in this area we were excited to come to help her community,” she explained.

And just like that, the two are here working right on the front lines.

Read More: Sean Healey, Patient Care Tech at Holy Name Medical Center

How They Got Into Nursing

Here’s the deal — being a nurse is a tough job. Working night and day with patients to bring them the best physical care and often emotional support is undoubtedly exhausting. But for Kelly and Charity, the duo always knew that they wanted to help others.

Charity has been working as a nurse for 11 years and has traveled on the job throughout the U.S. + and Spain, and is taking her career a step further to become a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner.

“I am currently waiting on my application status at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Hopefully, I will begin my next adventure in furthering my career in healthcare fall 2020,” she said.

Kelly, however, goes way back in her desire to help others.

“I started working as a nursing assistant when I was 18 years old, and since then have just worked my way up to being a nurse,” Kelly said. “It is one of the best, and most rewarding careers I could have asked for. I am so lucky to have the career that I do.”

Again, being a nurse is no simple task — in fact, the profession comes with its own unwritten set of necessary qualities to have just to succeed. For Kelly, the most important quality to have is flexibility and an open mind, and for Charity, those qualities are compassion, teamwork, self-motivation, and critical thinking.

As we said, this is a tough job, but for these two Colorado-based nurses, it’s simply second nature.

Life on the Job During COVID-19

kelly ritchie charity neimann nurses hoboken colorado health heroes

Being a nurse is already a tough + very admirable job as it is, but being one during a global health pandemic as well takes everything to a new level, presenting a whole new set of daily challenges.

For Kelly, the toughest part was her first night on the COVID-19 floor.

“The first night on the COVID floor may have been one of the scariest days on the job. We were all tripled with sick, vented, ICU patients, and none of us were able to receive any orientation,” she explained. “We just were thrown in there, which was to be expected. So, we learned as we went, using different pumps, vents, not knowing the unit. But, these are dire times, and we knew that this is what we were signing up for. It is a super unique experience in that we all work together so well because if we don’t the unit will fall apart.”

As for Charity, she’s in a similar boat — the experience here in New Jersey + her first night on the job here has been {and continues to be} a massive learning curve.

“Kelly and I knew coming here would be life-changing. We tried to brace and prepare ourselves as much as possible,” she shared. “I have had many challenging and trying days in 11 years, but would rank our first shift last night as one of the hardest. Resources and staff are utterly spread thin while the patients are very sick.

But, to quote Newton’s law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” — so with every challenge Kelly and Charity have faced + continue to face, there are also a number of highlights

“Honestly, after working last night, I think this will be the highlight of my career. I never thought in my lifetime I would work a global pandemic. I never thought I would work in these conditions, and I am truly excited to take on the challenge and help care for these patients,” Kelly shared.

And with this new journey here in New Jersey, both nurses have had the opportunity to meet new people and in turn, create new experiences.

“One of the highlights of my career, while there have been many, are the places and people nursing has introduced me too,” Charity said. “[There are] so many opportunities while also being able to feel like you are making a positive difference for patients and their families while they are at their worst.”

See More: Alexandra Grippo, an ICU Nurse at New York-Presbyterian in NYC

How We Can Help

Now, since these nurses have come all the way from out west to help us here on the East Coast, the very least we can do is help, even in the smallest possible way.

One such way we can do our part, according to Kelly, is to continue to communicate to those around us just how serious this virus is. “If you aren’t in healthcare it’s hard to imagine the work it takes to manage these patients,” Kelly said. “We are constantly managing drips, ventilators, and proning {turning patients on their stomachs to increase oxygenation to patients}. It takes a village, there aren’t enough of us for the demand. Stay at home, take these orders seriously, that is going to stop the spread of this virus. And obviously, wash your hands.”

However, if you’d like to contribute a little more directly to the cause, you can do so in the form of donating food. “If people want to send us food to bring into the hospital, we would love to do that,” Kelly shared. To donate, please contact Kelly directly via email at kelly.gubber@gmail.com to find out how to do so.

Kelly and Charity, thank you for coming all the way here to help out!

Have a health care provider you want to submit for a feature? Email their contact info to hello@hobokengirl.com!

PS: Make sure to go to your windows/balconies nightly to cheer all of our incredible healthcare professionals at 7:00PM each evening.


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Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.