Clayton ICU nurse is hopeful but knows challenges remain for community hospitals like hers

CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Melissa Monforte thinks about why she comes back every day to her job as an ICU nurse at Johnston Health in Clayton.

The answer has become harder but it's because of her team and her patients.

"I love seeing them recover and go home," Monforte said. "You just want to be there for the patients, and you want to be there for their families."

COVID has ravaged ICUs like Monforte's even at a small hospital like Johnston Health in Clayton where they only have 10 ICU beds.

The hospital is affiliated with UNC Health, which has 835 people hospitalized with COVID as of Thursday.

That is a high during the past year.

At Johnston Health, which include Melissa's hospital and Smithfield, there are 80 COVID patients including 10 in the ICUs.

Hospitalizations statewide continue to set daily records as well.

"When the floor didn't have any COVID patients on it, it felt good and now we don't see that," Monforte said. "Now the whole floor is full of COVID patients, and you take it one day at a time. It's difficult."

The other challenge for Monforte and her industry is the number of people who continue to leave it. Many have left bedside nursing and have switched to travel which is more lucrative.

It's tempting but Monforte has a family and loves her work family.

"I'm hopeful," Monforte said. "I think we are all tired of COVID, we are all ready to resume life as before so I'm staying hopeful, we will."
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