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Nursing in South Carolina One Year Later – Part 1: These ICU Nurses Aren't Going Anywhere

Nurses had a rough year. That doesn't mean they're fleeing the job.
Luke Jones
Nurses had a rough year. That doesn't mean they're fleeing the job.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a lot of speculation about whether nursing could survive. South Carolina Public Radio takes a four-part look at the situation, starting with a conversation with two intensive care nurses about how they see the job they still love.

Peyton Korhorn and Amanda Henneage are both new to the ICU. Korhorn because it's her first nursing job and Henneage because she transferred to it.

Both started their new gigs in the spring of 2020 — exactly when the pandemic swept through South Carolina and threw everything into chaos. The worst of the surge in sick patients was a legitimate horror show for emergency medical workers. Patients were terrified, supplies were dwindling, and nurses watched person after person (after person after person) die in loneliness and isolation.

But while some in the field left the job, the worst of the pandemic did little to break the resilience of the likes of Korhorn and Henneage. Both have found a renewed sense of purpose and an even deeper love for what they do.

That doesn't mean all is rosy. Listen above to hear how these two young nurses see their work and why they think self-care is as vital as any supply for anyone in or entering their profession.

This story is part of a series exploring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing and health care in South Carolina. In Part 2, hear more from Korhorn and Henneage about the practical things nurses need to do their jobs well, and from a hospital administrator who sees the promise brought out by the pandemic's chaos.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.