Jacqueline Siatti, an ICU Nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center

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While we look forward to the days where we can safely leave our homes, let’s not take for granted those who look forward every day to just being able to go home; those working tirelessly on the frontlines, putting their lives at risk to save ours. Though you may be sick of your own four walls, it’s a privilege in these unprecedented times to be stuck inside them.

Now more than ever is a time to be thankful for good health and for the people helping us to stay healthy: healthcare workers. In an effort to show our gratitude to these heroes, we continuously look forward to the opportunity to speak with them and to be able to publish these healthcare hero highlights. This week, we were fortunate enough to speak with Jacqueline Siatti, an ICU nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center, who shared her story with us.

jacqueline hackensack

^ Jaqueline is pictured on the right, in her full gear!

What is your name? Where do you live? For how long?

Jacqueline Siatti. I’ve lived in Hoboken for close to four years.

What is your occupation? How long have you worked there?

I am an ICU nurse of five and a half years. I work at Hackensack University Medical Center in the adult MICU/CCU for almost four years.

What was your original career plan? How did you get into this career?

I had always wanted to be a nurse since my Papa died, but never knew what kind. My senior year clinical assignment was in an ICU and I fell in love. From there I applied to a new grad ICU program in Rhode Island {my home state much love} and did two years at Rhode Island Hospital’s MICU. I was trained by the absolute best nurses and work with the best nurses at Hackensack as well!

So far, what has been the highlight of your career?

In my area of nursing, we don’t often see very successful stories so my idea of a highlight can sometimes be depressing in the eyes of others. But to be honest, it is always heart warming when I am able to connect deeply with a patient and their family at the end of life. When I am able to advocate for a patient and help them have a dignified death. There are two patients in particular that I think of daily; they are the highlights of my career.

See More: Maxim Casas, ER Nurse at Christ Hospital in Jersey City

What has been the hardest day/scariest day on the job?

With COVID-19, each new day I go into work currently is my new hardest/scariest. 

Who is someone you look up to/your hero?

My parents are my heroes.

What qualities does a person need to do your job?

Unwavering compassion and empathy. You can’t do my job unless you can put yourself aside and console people on their worst days. 

What’s something that people wouldn’t expect about what you do on a daily basis?

I don’t think people realize how much I boss doctors around. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for doctors, but the nurses are the ones at the bedside 12 hours a day. We know a lot! A good doctor knows how smart nurses are!

Describe a typical day on the job.

Every day can be so different on the ICU so it’s hard to say what a normal day is but I’ll try my best to describe it.

I start by getting report from the night shift on my one to three patients for the day. Then I go into my patients’ rooms, do my full assessment, turn and reposition them. I will then usually try to get some charting in before 10:00AM medications. Rounds with the attending physician will start around 9:00AM. We turn and reposition our patients every two hours, vital signs every 15-60 minutes, and calculating hourly intake and output {of fluid}. A lot of our patients are on ventilators and continuous titratable IV infusions so a lot of the day goes to managing all of that. Factoring in family discussions, lab work, medication administration, cleaning patients from bodily fluids, dressing changes, charting, etc. Sometimes we are traveling off the unit to tests with patients as well. Additionally, the ICUs are the code teams so if there is ever a code blue on another floor, we respond to that. 

How do you spend your free time?

I religiously watch Friends {it’s been my form of therapy since the 8th grade}. I love to go out to dinner in Hoboken. I work out at LIV Method in NYC. I usually go to Rhode Island at least once a month to visit my family. I love to cook. 

jaqueline siatti healthcare hero

Are there organizations that you feel strongly about and support? Tell us about them.

There’s an amazing children’s palliative care center called George Mark Children’s House. As sad as it sounds, the George Mark Children’s House provides children and their families comfort, peace, and even happiness at the end of life. I also love the Make a Wish Foundation.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a healthcare worker during this pandemic?

A challenge is hearing the voices on the other side of the phone of the patients’ families. It is heartbreaking. I talk to them when I go into the rooms and I try to bring phones into the rooms to hold up to their ears so their loved ones can talk to them. But like I said, we’re being spread so thin, it’s not always feasible. 

The biggest challenge is channeling my fear and not letting it turn into panic. If I do, I will lose the capacity to critically think and will let the stress take over for me. That would not serve my patients. 

Read  More: 16 Ways to Help First Responders in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

What are the most common symptoms you’re coming across?

 Fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue. 

What is one thing you want the public to know about the virus?

It does not just attack the old and immunocompromised. We have patients in their thirties who are otherwise healthy on life supportive measures. If you think you are above, you are not. If you think the media is exaggerating or any of these protective measures are excessive, know that they are not.  Just because you know people who have it and only have mild symptoms, there are plenty of people who are a lot less fortunate. 

Do you know anyone personally affected by the virus?

Yes!

How can we help? What can we do? 

Continue sharing information. Continue staying home. Take this seriously. It is no joke. The hospital is unlike anything I have ever seen and will probably ever see again. 

If someone wanted to donate food/supplies/etc to you/your team, how could they do it? 

The healthcare team needs PPE. You can contact our command center at 848-888-4488. If you would like to donate food to the healthcare workers specifically on the CCU/MICU, you can have the restaurant call 551-996-2895 or 551-996-2434. There are several floors being converted to temporary ICUs for the time being but this is the main one. We can distribute the food to all the units from there. They are converting our cafeteria to patient care areas so we aren’t sure what that means in terms of whether or not food production will continue. TBD.

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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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Corinne is a Jersey girl who has always loved to write, create, and make people laugh. Always the “comedian” of the friend group, she's a stand up comic and aspiring comedy writer. She studied communications/film and media at the University of Miami, with a minor in both psychology and exercise science, but now she’s living in downtown Jersey City. Singing and playing the guitar and piano are her favorite hobbies when she’s not writing, working out, or going to comedy shows.


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