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'You Have To Ask God To Take Away The Fear': Podcast Offers First-Hand Accounts From Nurses Fighting On Front Lines Of Coronavirus Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A podcast from Mount Sinai Health System uses first-person accounts to shed light on just how much nurses give of themselves every single day in the fight against the coronavirus.

In an episode of the Mount Sinai Health System podcast "Road to Resilience" titled "The Givers," Mount Sinai nurses share their thoughts and reflections.

"I remember feeling like it was surreal," nurse Casey Scott said.

"You have to pray, you have to ask god to take away the fear from you because if you go to work with that fear, you're going to make a mistake," nurse Simone Murray said.

"When my daughter dropped me at the hospital ... I looked in her face and I thought to myself, is this the last time I'm going to see her?" nurse Claudia Garcenot said.


Jon Earle produces the podcast.

"I would hope that the public gains just a fuller appreciation of the incredible sacrifices that nurses have been making," he told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock.

He says the most moving moment for him came from Hoda Farghaly, a woman who has only been a nurse for about eight months.

"This time last year, she was in nursing school. She talks about coming out of the room after being with a patient," Earle said.

Her manager saw her visibly upset and sent her a message.

"This is the text. 'What you did today saved a life. You are a true hero,'" Farghaly says on the podcast.

"March 17, we really saw COVID for the monster that it was," nurse Madeline Hernandez says on the podcast.

In an interview with CBS2, Hernandez said, "I was determined. We were going to war."

While she's no stranger to caring for patients following large-scale disasters, Hernandez shares in the podcast this time was different.

"The first time that I really felt like this was a disaster," she says.

"This wasn't letting up, and you were seeing the deaths continue to increase," Hernandez told CBS2.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Despite the heartache, moments of victory get celebrated.

"Yeah, take that, you know? We got one, what we did worked," Hernandez said.

The podcast reveals at Mount Sinai Queens, when a patient gets released, they play "Here Comes The Sun."

"It's just a happy and positive moment and it keeps all of us going," Farghaly says.

"I've also learned that I need less in life, of everything," nurse Valerie Burgos said.

Words of wisdom from those we're counting on the most right now.

Earle and his colleagues recorded more than seven hours of interviews to create the 17-minute podcast.

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