March 30, 2020

Nurse comforts COVID-19 ICU patients, ‘You are not alone’

Mohini Chand, RN, is one of many Kaiser Permanente medical professionals nationwide working tirelessly to help those diagnosed with COVID-19.

Mohini Chand, RN, an Intensive Care Unit nurse on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mohini Chand, RN, an intensive care unit nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, has been fighting the outbreak since its arrival in late January at the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. Santa Clara County is one of the hardest hit areas in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Although Chand understands it’s a stressful time, she wants people to know it’s going to be OK and not to feel scared.

“Patients without underlying conditions are getting better,” said Chand, who has personally treated several COVID-19 patients. “Some are going to be released from the hospital. I’m hopeful. This is a glass-half-full situation.”

Working in the ICU, Chand treats people who are in critical condition and whose fears are heightened. In addition to excellent medical care, she provides emotional support and eases their worries.

“I whisper in my patients’ ears, ‘I got you. I’m here for you. You are not alone,”’ she said. “Every day I encourage them and say, ‘Things are looking better, and slowly and steadily we will win this race.”’

Supporting the families of COVID-19 patients

Chand has been with Kaiser Permanente for 12 years. Although her unit is experiencing an unprecedented situation, she knows Kaiser Permanente has fought infectious diseases for decades and is well equipped.

Informing the families of those suffering from COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that their loved ones are in excellent hands may be more important than ever before. Per the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente has strictly limited visitors at its facilities to ensure the safety of all and to limit the spread of the disease.

Because of this, Chand facilitates frequent FaceTime calls for her patients to visit with their families and assures them they are in the best place possible.

“I understand that it’s quite scary to have a loved one you’re not able to see,” she said. “The family needs emotional support, and we provide it any way we can.”

Dedication of the medical community

During this global health crisis, Kaiser Permanente nurses and physicians, and the entire medical community, have put forth incredible efforts to save lives. Chand, a single mom of 2 boys, has been working over 40 hours a week and often pulling 12- to 16-hour shifts, something she said she is happy to do.

“My passion is my job,” she said. “I love my job. It’s very rewarding for me to be at the bedside of my patients and hold their hands.”

Her words of advice for all is to remain calm, stay home, practice social distancing (at least 6 feet when possible), wash your hands, and take care of yourself, mentally and physically.