Feona Thomas: Nursing on the New York City COVID-19 Battlefield | Our BCU Heroes

Feona (Joy) Thomas: Nurse on the New York City Area COVID-19 Battlefield

New York City Area
Nursing


“We are set up for 19 ICU beds, and almost overnight we went to 50 ICU beds,” says Feona, reflecting on the surge of COVID-19 patients. “Thanks to a new emergency room under construction that was completed early, we could accommodate this situation.”


— Feona (Joy) Thomas
New York City Area
Nursing

Briar Cliff University Nursing alumnae, Feona (Joy) Thomas always puts her education, service leadership and heart into her work every day, but even more-so now. Working as a surgical intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Montefiore Nyack Hospital – Medical ICU, a community hospital about 20 minutes from New York City, Feona is working the front lines each day, saving lives and protecting her own.

“We are set up for 19 ICU beds, and almost overnight we went to 50 ICU beds,” says Feona, reflecting on the surge of COVID-19 patients. “Thanks to a new emergency room under construction that was completed early, we could accommodate this situation.”

New York City hospitals are overrun with coronavirus infections, with potentially the peak of the virus hitting the state now. As of April 5, 2020, there are nearly 65,000 positive cases of COVID-19  and 2,472 fatalities in New York City, according to the NYC Health. Of those cases, over 14,200 have been hospitalized.

“We went from one to two patients per nurse in ICU, to eight to nine patients per nurse that are vented. Early on, patients were aged 40-55; now they are of all ages, starting at age 19 and going up,” Feona adds.

The New York City area community has been generous through donations of masks, gowns, meals for staff, and more. While visiting limitations are being implemented, loved ones are calling for updates, with the ICU nursing team being the only ones who can answer questions. Feona describes the stress of increased patient volumes, family concerns, and enhanced safety protocol as if it were like “walking into a battlefield” each day.

Married with two young children at home, Feona is taking enhanced safety measures to protect her family. Soon her husband and children will be staying with her in-laws so Feona can continue to help fight the COVID-19 battle even more, without risking her family’s health.

Feona’s passion for health care was inspired by her mother’s cancer diagnosis. She was in pharmacy school during her mother's cancer treatment, but after she witnessed the care her mother received, Feona decided to become a nurse. She and her cousin Reni Mathai applied to schools all over the country, and they both heard back from Briar Cliff University and made a visit. After graduation, both returned to New York, where they are from, and her current position is her first job after graduation.

Thank you Feona for your selfless dedication to helping others and for the tremendous support you are providing to the New York City community during this pandemic.

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Tags: Nursing