Metro Detroit nurses share their story amid coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

DETROIT – Darby Russell and Brandi Phare were willing to be profiled only if people were reminded that all health care workers have their own stories, their own families, their own worries that they battle every single day as they head into work.

Russell is a clinical nurse manager in Metro Detroit and oversees around 60 nurses.

“They come to me and say, ‘Each of us has probably cried four times this week,’" Russel said. “And all I can do is ask them to keep coming back each day.”

As Phare left for her 12 hour overnight shift in the emergency room, she said she gets through by compartmentalizing and conquering.

“If I think of things in doses, I’m OK,” Phare said.

Phare’s father has cancer and she has two children at home who she has to homeschool.

“I’m not a teacher. I’m a great nurse, I can do that all day long, but even before this -- When I do homework with my son we get frustrated,” Phare said. “My family has not left the house. If they get any of this, it’s me bringing it to them.”

Russell worries about the same thing. Her husband is doing much of the homeschooling with their two daughters. No one leaves their house either.

Russell said one of the days that was the hardest involved a patient who was in rough shape. That man later died.

They find peace by helping others. Phare uses time off work with her children to make hair caps for her nurse friends. She said nurses always worry about each other.

“A nurse I worked with from Henry Ford died for this and she was healthy,” Phare said. “And we just had a friend, he and his wife just died.”

Those two friends were Michigan State Police troopers that died this week from COVID-19.

Both women are urging everyone to stay home. If you do go out, wear gloves -- but don’t throw them on the ground as garbage because that makes matters worse.

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