Working at Village Manor while attending Abilene High School,
Alannis Clark-Douthit never dreamed of the precautions she now takes caring for COVID-19 patients.
It was just three years ago she was playing softball for the Cowgirls.
Now she wears two masks, a gown and a face shield at all times.
“My hands are completely broke down from washing and sanitizing constantly,” she said by email.
Clark-Douthit is among the several area nurses that left Kansas to treat COVID-19 patients.
She left her job at Salina Regional Medical Center where she worked in the lab at ComCare.
She is now in New Jersey at Palisades Medical Center, caring for COVID-19 patients.
“I have always loved to help people and the people in New Jersey need it tremendously,” she said. “So I took the opportunity to come up here and help. I packed up some of my stuff, and my 8 month old puppy and made a 20 hour drive up here on April 16.”
There she is helping patients to be as comfortable as possible as they are all COVID-19 positive. She works 12 hours shifts, four to five days a week.
“This is a huge hispanic community, so communication can be difficult at times because very few speak English,” she said.
She said now she wished she had taken Spanish in high school instead of German.
“Everyone here is so welcoming and thankful for everyone who has came to help. Being 20 hours away from family and friends is extremely difficult, but I came to help and that’s exactly what I am doing,” she said.
She said reports of supply shortages are mostly true.
“The week after I got here we had run out of N95s (masks). That was extremely scary,” she said.
New York City
A surprise trip to New York found that city quite surprising.
“I accidentally ended up in New York from taking a wrong turn and was unable to turn around. It is so quiet there and no one is really out,” she said. “There are police on every corner and walking the streets to make sure people are practicing social distancing. I have only seen what the city is like from pictures and movies. This is completely different and its very scary when the ‘city that never sleeps’ has barely anyone out.”
Businesses were still closed for the most part last week.
“You are able to do pick up, and delivery but very few actually let you in the store if they are open,” she said. “You are required to wear a mask anytime you do go in anywhere. It is an order from the state of New Jersey. You will not be allowed in if you don’t have one.”
Clark-Douthis said the work has been enjoyable but she is ready to return to Kansas.
She plans to return on June 14.
“This has been an amazing, yet very difficult and scary situation to work in. It is very hard when people are very sick but there is nothing you can do except make them comfortable,” she said.
“She has always been one to put other people first and has always wanted to be in the medical field. I’m very proud of her,” said her mother Amy Clark.
Contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.