COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Nurses from Colorado Springs have returned home after helping hospitals in New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of 27 nurses from Colorado Springs, Penrose and St. Francis hospitals arrived in Elizabeth, New Jersey four weeks ago. Among them was emergency department nurse, Kelsi Anderholm.
"What people probably didn't really know is there weren't a lot of hours [in Colorado Springs], we weren't as busy," Anderholm said. "We didn't get hit so hours were getting cut and we were feeling like we needed to help out somewhere."
Aside from the hours, why did you want to go?
"I was feeling like I had a skill and it wasn't needed here," she said. "To know they need help and I could go to help, that was for me a blessing."
Anderholm returned to Colorado Springs last week, taking a few days off to catch up on sleep and reset before heading back to work at Penrose Hospital.
What was it like seeing the virus up close in a hotspot like New Jersey, versus here in Colorado?
"Very, very different. Here you have time. Even when you have a COVID patient come in, you can have that nurse be in there for two hours," she said. "In the first two weeks, I remember bits and pieces but I was working a lot and if you were in a crisis for one patient, you know someone else was on the verge of having another."
Coming from a state that is still shutdown and returning to Colorado where communities are opening up, are you scared to see a surge of COVID-19 cases?
"Seeing that we didn't get hit as hard and the population density, like that makes sense. I think we're ready if something else were to happen. I'm sure the Governor wouldn't have a problem shutting things down if he saw a surge," Anderholm said. "But at the same time, I'm not scared. We have the staff, we have what we need to take care of these patients."