Temporary nurses arrive in South Florida to help strained healthcare system


(WSVN) - Nurses are being brought in from across the U.S. to back up overworked caregivers in the Baptist Health System, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to be dire in South Florida.

Dozens of nurses who are part of an elite team could be seen gearing up to help in a video provided by Baptist Health, Friday.

“They are a very valued resource to our organization to be able to help our staff to handle the COVID crisis,” spokesperson David Schubert said. “This is rapid response. They do things like California fires. They do pandemics, things like that where you need a lot of nurses in a very short period of time. This group of people here, this is not even seven days since we’ve got folks in the door.”

In the last 24 hours, more than 11,000 people in Florida have tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 2,000 are in Miami-Dade County. Broward County added more than 1,300 new cases, and 52 more people tested positive for the virus in Monroe County.

The nurses have been brought in to work primarily with patients sickened with the virus.

“It feels awesome to come out and help and do stuff that’s right for the community, even though it’s not my community,” Tameka Gibson, a temporary nurse, said. “Patients are my community.”

After online orientation and a crash course in procedures within the medical network, the dedicated caregivers are almost ready to get to work.

Before they begin treating patients, they are properly outfitted with personal protective equipment.

“Since they are going to be working with us, they are part of our family, and we want to make sure they are protected just like our other employees,” Richard Whitehurst said.

Approximately 100 nurses have been recruited to assist the Baptist Health System for at least the next four weeks.

The timing may be extended if the virus continues to spread at a record rate.

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