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Freedom Wing Nurse Provides Holistic Care

Captain Keisha Burrell, 514th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, clinical nurse, with the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. poses for a photo while wearing her personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Captain Keisha Burrell, 514th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, clinical nurse, with the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. poses for a photo while wearing her personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST --

When people think of doctors and nurses they often think of them in a hospital setting. The coronavirus pandemic has shown the world that medics in any capacity of the field are essential to the well-being of society.

When the pandemic first began, it seemed that elderly people were more susceptible to the virus and as such, nursing homes became hot spots for the virus’s outbreak. Suddenly, nursing homes, their attendants, and their nurses were on the front lines fighting a battle for the survival of their patients.

One such nurse is Capt. Keisha Burrell, 514th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, clinical nurse, with the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

“I came from Westover as a flight nurse for six years, to McGuire as a clinical nurse,” said Burrell. “I support my unit by administering flu vaccinations and physicals, though I am in the process of being promoted to nurse practitioner in the unit.”

As a civilian, Burrell also works in the medical field, specializing in home care through the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

“I’m a nurse practitioner rendering service in home care,” said Burrell. “I am sent to nursing homes by my firm to provide care to patients in different sites and locations.”

Specializing in home care allows Burrell to really form bonds with her patients.

“I want to be able to do more and deliver my expertise as a nurse on an advanced level,” said Burrell. “As a nurse practitioner, you’re able to give care in a more holistic way, not just treating the disease but treating the person as a whole.”

Having to deal with sick patients regularly, Burrell followed federal guidelines as to protect not only herself but the patients she cared for.

“You’re just taking more precautions because everyday there may be more information on how the disease affects the human body,” said Burrell. “You just have to be careful of how long you stay around patients. I’m always thinking of ways I can safely deliver care while protecting myself too.”

Like many others in the medical field, Burrell sometimes found herself dealing with a harsh reality.

“I'm not going to lie, sometimes anxiety does overwhelm me because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Burrell. “Sometimes you wake up and discover someone you’ve know for years is no longer with you. Having a supportive family and a beautiful daughter has definitely helped give me the strength to hope for a better day and believe that better days are coming soon.”

Though many lives were unfortunately lost during the coronavirus pandemic, Burrell believes at least some good has come out of all of the bad.

“I feel that going through this pandemic has brought a lot of people closer together,” said Burrell. “Just getting text messages or emails from loved ones gave me the strength to deal with this pandemic. People need to show more of that love to their neighbors, friends, and family even after we get back to normal.”