Jamestown nurse helping coronavirus patients in Illinois

Local News

(WIVB)–A nurse from Jamestown is making the sacrifice and fighting on the front lines against coronavirus — hundreds of miles from her family.

“You hear about nurses dying, doctors, you know all these people who are supposed to be fighting this virus, so it was kind of like this what I’m here to do. This is what I’ve been gearing up for,” said Shameka Batchelor, a registered nurse.

Shameka Batchelor never thought she’d be suiting up for this kind of fight.

“Hair net, putting booties on my feet for my shoes, getting a report about my patients and then like N95 masks, face shields, gowns, gloves all of that,” said Batchelor.

But every day as a registered nurse, she’s at the bed side of people battling coronavirus.

“I can’t really show my emotions through a big mask on my face and a shield. I had one patient, I had them on the max oxygen and she was still having a hard time breathing and it’s so hard to watch,” said Batchelor.

What’s even harder, she says, is coming to an empty hotel room at the end of her shift.

“I took one of our security cameras and put it up in my hotel room so that the girls can log in and see me anytime they want,” said Batchelor.

Batchelor is from Jamestown and that’s where her husband and two young girls are currently. For the last few weeks, she’s been working in the covid unit at a hospital in Illinois — another state hit hard by the virus.

Batchelor says it’s her girls getting her through these tough days.

“If they’re okay and I know they’re not crying or upset all the time then I can be okay knowing that I can continue on doing my job,” said Batchelor.

She says some days are better than others.

“We are glad for those little moments when we can discharge someone and they can come home and be with their family,” said Batchelor.

She says the support for front line workers across the country is overwhelming. But she says there are so many others who should be recognized.

“I have people thanking me but every time I’m on the phone, every time I see a cashier, I’m like no thank you because I wouldn’t be here to be able to get food to keep working and stay healthy if you guys weren’t here,” said Batchelor.

Shannon Smith is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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