Traveling nurse returns to Huntsville, shares her pandemic experience

Jessica Upton says the job was emotional, and at times, dark

Traveling nurse recalls her time working through the pandemic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A north Alabama nurse is back home following a cross-country healthcare tour of some of the nation’s hardest hit pandemic areas.

Jessica Upton is a registered nurse who calls Huntsville home. She spent the last year as a traveling nurse to be on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upton worked as a nurse in New York City and two Texas cities. She calls her time at work surreal and overwhelming.

“There was a lot of make-shifting. We were short on resources, supplies, and staff. We had to make-do with what we had,” said Upton.

Upton says the job was emotional... and at times... dark.

“It’s altered by this pandemic and it’s just us and the patient and they’re terrified and they want their family. That’s something that took a mental toll on me personally throughout this whole process,” said Upton.

Upton says she has seen things improve - but doesn’t want people to give up precautions too soon. Especially since Alabama’s mask mandate will soon be lifted.

“That could be - has potential to be a damper on what’s been done. Kind of undermining towards what’s been done with COVID and the progress,” said Upton.

Upton says she learned COVID has the potential to impact many regardless of age, race or gender.

Despite the emotional toll, Upton says she is proud she had the chance to bring her skills to so many in need.

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