VitalsSchool of Nursing
Life on the Front Lines
“I walked in and my patient was blue,” said Julie Enlow, BSN, RN, (Nursing ’06). She spent the majority of her three-week stay in New York City finding more portable oxygen tanks to keep him breathing. Both she and Alyssa Springfield, BSN, RN, (Nursing ’16) volunteered in May to help in New York’s battle with COVID-19.

Neither alumna was completely prepared for the reality in the northeast, but they both made it work and honored their profession. Springfield worked tirelessly to keep her patients comfortable in spite of a drug shortage, while Enlow finally repaired the oxygen port in her patient’s room herself, so he could have access to oxygen without needing a tank.

It was a unique experience: one nurse to 20 patients, equipment shortages, and faces ravaged by the masks they wore 12 hours at a time.

While we know they’re both heroes, they aren’t comfortable with the moniker.

“I just knew I could help,” Enlow said. “I think the biggest message that I would like people to take away from my experience is that whether it’s a pandemic or something small, like holding the door open for someone, it all matters. All of our service, no matter the magnitude, can add up to make a big difference.”

Julie Enlow, BSN, RN, (Nursing ’06) on Broadway street.
Provided by Julie Enlow
Julie Enlow, BSN, RN, (Nursing ’06) on Broadway street.
Alyssia Springfield, BSN, RN, (Nursing ’16) in Times Square.
Provided by Alyssa Springfield
Alyssia Springfield, BSN, RN, (Nursing ’16) in Times Square.
“I was fatigued and felt like I had the flu on my last shift, but since I had never worked that much in my life, I thought I was just tired. Then I couldn’t smell my lotion and knew I needed to be tested. The results were positive for COVID-19. As a recovered COVID-19 patient, I grasped the harsh reality of the world we live in. At the same time, I feel more empowered than I ever have in my entire life.”
­­— Alyssa Springfield, BSN, RN (Nursing ’16)