Rutgers Oral History Archives

Taylor Lorchak, Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden '20, Army National Guard

-On her National Guard unit being activated and deployed to a veterans nursing home in April 2020 as a part of the state's emergency response to COVID:
… It was a nursing home, but it's just for veterans. All the patients there either were veterans or were a spouse of a veteran. Specifically because it was a nursing home, all of the patients there were immunocompromised because of their age. That's really where Covid hit hard was any nursing home in general. Every nursing home was short on staff, was one example, so it wasn't really different from other nursing homes in that sense.

… All of us would work there pretty much every day. They would split us into different groups for each different unit. They had a bunch of different units and wings there. So, a couple of us would be on one unit and then a couple of us would be on the other unit, but we pretty much stayed, whatever unit we started with, we stayed there the whole time. … Since all of us were combat medics, we would basically function as assistants to the nursing assistant. It was pretty much the same thing I did as a nursing student in clinical. I would help with patient hygiene.

Also, we were in our uniform every day, so I think that [for] the veterans there, definitely it was a morale booster for them to see us there. We would basically just help both the nursing assistants and nurses in whatever way that we could. … As soon as [the residents of the nursing home] saw us there in uniform, it automatically brought a smile to their face. That generation, they don't really talk about their military service as much as people do today, but I think that the fact that they saw us there in uniform made them a little more open to sharing some of their stories that they had or what rank they were, or if they were the spouse of somebody, they would talk about their spouse.

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