Nurses helping nurses: how out of state nurses lend a helping hand in Green Bay

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) To Danie Cervantes, Green Bay is a relatively small town.

“I was really blown away with the small town feel,” she said; meaning it in the best possible way.

“Even if Green Bay’s not a small town, they did a really good job of making you feel that hospitality,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes is a registered nurse at  Advocate Lutheran General Hospital just outside of Chicago.  

The hospital is part of the Advocate Aurora Health System, like Aurora Baycare Medical Center in Green Bay, where Hope Coppens is just starting out in her career as a nurse.

 “I did not think during my second year of nursing I would be dealing with a pandemic!” said Coppens. 

When Cervantes heard the call for help …

“An email came out saying we had a sister site that was surging with COVID patients,” Cervantes explains. “They asked if there was anybody willing to go up to Green Bay and help with staffing.”

She didn’t hesitate.

“I said ‘Count me in.’,” said Cervantes.

Despite the fact that she has two young children at home, had just gone through a coronavirus surge at her own hospital and the extra hours would be in addition to her regular shift.

“The caveat was you have to complete your hours on your unit and it will be over your off weekends,” Cervantes explained. 

So, after completing four 12-hour shifts in Illinois, Cervantes travelled to Green Bay to take on three more days at Aurora Baycare; a dedication instilled in her by her mother.

 “Not everyone is as fortunate as you,” she recalled her mother’s words. “There’s always somebody in a worse position.  If you can help, there’s absolutely no reason not to.”

Coppens says that kind of commitment comes from a nurse’s love of her job and her patients. Still, she  welcomed the support

“It’s very emotionally and physically exhausting for us,” Coppens said.  “To have to keep caring for these patients and keep seeing their numbers rise;  it’s very difficult to see that.”

While they continue to fight this pandemic on the front lines, these healthcare heros lean on each other for support.

“We take care of our patients as well as each other,” explained Coppens.

 “I think being able to be there when they needed just a body was helpful and I’m glad I was able to do that for them,” Cervantes said.

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