Nash Community College nursing alumna Jamie Harris is serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“I am scared. Not for myself, but for those I care for: my patients,” she said. “I am afraid for their families who only have clinical updates from providers to rely on. Family members hang on every word I say to them when what they really want is to see for themselves how their loved one is doing.”
Harris is a nurse at Maria Parham Health in Henderson. She grew up in Vance County and graduated from Norlina Christian School.
Harris completed the Licensed Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs at Nash Community College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Governors University and plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in Nursing.
Harris has worked as a registered nurse for 16 years. Most of her career has been spent in the Intensive Care Unit at Maria Parham Health, but last year she began working in the operating room. Since the pandemic struck and now only surgery is only being done for emergent cases, Harris was given the opportunity to help out in the unit specifically created for COVID-19 patients.
“I remember the disaster segment of my nursing program at Nash,” she said. “Mrs. Traish explained that these are the moments where stepping up as a nurse is not a question. She was so right. Stepping up to help others in a disaster situation is something that as nurses we don’t question if we should do something to help. We ask how we can help.”
Harris said most of her patients have recovered from the novel virus, however she has seen a few COVID-19 patients die.
“Seeing recovery makes for the best shifts,” she said. “When someone gets to walk out after fighting this horrible virus, all of us health care workers feel like we have played a part in their recovery.”
Harris admits she is afraid of bringing the virus home to her family. But her desire to help others has helped her overcome the fear.
“I am doing what I was created to do,” she said. “As a nurse, I feel led to help others as a way of service to my Christian faith,” she said. “We’ve all been called for a purpose and from a very young age, I knew my service was in nursing. My mother was a registered nurse for 43 years. I will always admire her for the work she has done in health care.
“I was able to work with her in the same facility for three years prior to her retiring. I learned a lot from her in those few short years.”
Jamie Harris lives in Manson with her husband of 17 years and their two children.