Haley Allen, R.N., BSN, grew up in the emergency room (ER). When her police
officer father worked nights, Haley accompanied her mother, an ER nurse,
to work. “I knew then that I wanted to help people. To this day,
the ER is my home. I feel comfortable there,” Allen says.
After attending the College of Coastal Georgia and Georgia Southern University,
the ink was barely dry on Allen’s nursing diploma when she joined
the Emergency Care Center (ECC) at Southeast Georgia Health System’s
Brunswick Campus. Ten years later, she moved to the perioperative area,
preparing patients for surgery and caring for them in recovery.
As the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients increased on the Brunswick
Campus, Allen sprang into action, working wherever she was needed. She
was one of the first to sign up to work in the ECC when elective surgeries
were cancelled and staff were asked to work in other departments. During
the last six months, Allen has provided care to ECC patients, COVID-19
patients in the Intensive Care Unit and, most recently, returned to patient
care in surgical services. “I have no trouble taking care of the
sickest patients. I love bedside care.”
Repertoire and Respect
As challenging as it is to work on the frontlines, the bond between health
care workers remains strong. “I have a repertoire with my co-workers.
We respect and trust each other and know we’re doing the right thing
for our patients,” Allen says.
Trust is especially important in the ECC. “Haley is always willing
to go above and beyond to lend a helping hand. You can count on her to
back you up in critical situations,” says Gina Copeland, R.N., director
of the Brunswick Campus Emergency Care Center.
If providing patient care was challenging before COVID-19, it’s
even more so now. Reflecting on some of the “pivotal moments”
she has experienced throughout her nursing career, Allen says it’s
all worthwhile. “I’ve cared for people who lost a child and
went on to have another child later who they named after me.”
The pandemic requires nurses to dig deeper into their reserves of energy,
time and concern. Whether that means making yourself understood while
wearing a mask or explaining the no-visitor policy, Allen remains focused
on patients, despite the extra obstacles. “Haley treats each patient
as if they were her own family. She is compassionate, friendly and always
smiling. She is an exemplary model of a health care hero!” Copeland says.
As a bedside nurse, Allen must possess equal parts compassion and courage.
“I know I’m where I’m supposed to be when a patient
thanks me or a co-worker says, ‘Thank God you’re here.’”
Those moments sustain her as she hurries through the hospital to help
wherever she is needed. Juggling her job and being a single mother to
two children is not easy, but she manages with her parents’ help
and her children’s cooperation. “My kids don’t argue
about wearing a mask and they know they won’t see me when I get
home until I’ve showered and changed clothes,” Allen says.
From her perspective on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, Allen believes
that kindness, along with masks, social distancing and hygiene, will get
us through the pandemic. “We’re all in this together. Right
now, we need to show each other a lot of grace.”
Grace under fire defines Haley Allen, even if she does not see herself
through that lens. “I don’t see myself as a hero. This has
always been my job and always will be. You’ll always have someone
to take care of you.”
In times like these, those are just the heroic words we need to hear.
To support your community hospital during the COVID-19 crisis, please consider
donating to the Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation. To learn more,