Stories from the Frontlines

Terri Mitchell is an OB/GYN nurse that works at Eskenazi Health Center Cottage Corner. This Eskenazi Health Center location has temporarily closed due to a consolidation of services for COVID-19. She has since transitioned to provide support as an intake nurse at the Safe Recovery Site and has been helping members of our community for the past few weeks. She is truly making a difference and has shared her experience.

When Mitchell received word that Eskenazi Health Center Cottage Corner would be closing temporarily, she wasn’t sure if there would be a role available to her that she could do from home.

She knew she needed to continue to work during this time and says she was fortunate to receive a call from Alisha Jessup, nursing clinical care manager, about an opportunity to work at the Safe Recovery Site. Mitchell admitted she had no clue what this even was. Jessup explained what the site was and Mitchell agreed to take on the role.

Mitchell shared she was hesitant and terrified about coming into direct contact with individuals who have either tested positive with COVID-19 and were stable enough to be discharged from the hospital, or those who have been tested and were awaiting their results. Mitchell reported that for the most part, the patients seeking assistance at the Safe Recovery Site are very grateful to be given a private room with a bed, three meals a day and other amenities they might not have access to otherwise. Mitchell’s role as an intake nurse involves checking in the patients, reviewing the agreement and rules of staying at the Safe Recovery Site that patients must sign, taking vitals, reviewing medications and answering any questions the patients might have. The patients are asked to pack up whatever personal belongings they have with them, which are then bagged and marked with their name and room number, take a shower and put on clean clothes from a supply received through donations. Several of the patients Mitchell has met have been smokers, and the Safe Recovery Site has a strict no smoking rule. She said it is imperative to supply the patients with nicotine patches or nicotine gum to help curb their cravings while in the facility. Mitchell notes that the nicotine replacement products are also items that have been generously donated by the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. 

Mitchell has connected with a few patients during her time, going out of her way to help get them the supplies they need that aren’t available on site. She even made one woman’s day by ordering her a special meal for lunch, something she had been having a craving for. Mitchell said the woman was so overcome by appreciation she was almost in tears by Mitchell’s act of kindness.

Mitchell says she has been touched by what she has come to learn about the lives of the homeless neighbors that she has been helping, and being reminded of what truly matters. She is more thankful than ever for her ability to help others and for her family who supports her every day.

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