MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A hero is not what first-year intensive care unit (ICU) nurse Michaila Collins would call herself.
“I’m just doing my job, this is what I signed up for as a nurse,” Collins said.
Collins works at Ruby Memorial Hospital, where she said she gets satisfaction from having sick people come in the door and see them get better because of the care she helps to provide.
“It feels good,” Collins said. “I like the ICU because it’s really challenging. You’re not sure what’s going to happen at any second. People are really on the brink of death and I really like that, I really like being able to help them.”
Collins said despite coming onto the job right before the pandemic hit; she remains undeterred from remaining a nurse. However, she admits COVID-19 ‘changed everything’ about her work.
The reason is that the virus was new, no one knew how to handle it. Ruby, like many other hospitals around the country and world, was trying to figure out the best way to keep patients and staff safe, but there weren’t many answers available.
“It made things really stressful and the hospital was going back and forth with protocols that we were supposed to do and it was just kind of a mess for a little while,” Collins said. “Now everything has kind of settled down and we’ve gotten used to it, but it was definitely a learning experience for everyone and as a new nurse that was really scary.”
Despite the fear she felt during the pandemic, she said it made her want to be a nurse even more because she realized how vital her job is to keeping everyone safe.
At the pandemic’s peak in the spring, Collins said, she wanted to work as a travel nurse, lending her services to cities and states, like New York, that had major COVID-19 outbreaks. However, her dedication to being a mother kept her in Morgantown, where she continues to serve her community and those in need of intensive care.