Annie Quasnitschka was supposed to start her new job in March. She’d left her job at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth, and was planning a new life as a traveling freelancing nurse anesthetist. She’d landed her first contract. Then, all elective surgeries were cancelled.
“When the elective procedures were canceled, so was my job. So we came up here,” she said. “I made the decision and within 18 hours I was on a plane.”
Up here was New York City, where she and her partner – also a nurse anesthetist – have been working since late March. By that point, it had become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
As the infections spread and communities started hunkering down, healthcare workers have been faced with twin realities: while some prepared for an onslaught of patients, others were furloughed, sidelined or laid off. Some traveled to COVID-19 hotspots to help out.