Leahy said having patients die is the most heart-wrenching aspect of the crisis.
“I would say that was the hardest part. We just had so many rules about people coming into the hospital,” Leahy said. “Some patients got to have one family member there, and then for others it was just us. We were just doing our best to stay with them when we could and make them comfortable.”
Despite a wide range of risks Leahy added that there was a sense of camaraderie amongst herself and her coworkers.
“At the same time, I feel like there has been teamwork with my co-workers and I. We just knew that we had to do this and get through this,” she said “We have to be the ones to keep a positive attitude because the patients are scared or worried.”
Leahy’s parents, Kevin and Anna Sevier, were concerned about their daughter’s well-being.
“ “Her mom Anna and I were very nervous for her when we found out she would be on the frontlines treating patients who had contracted this terrible virus. We also knew this is what Kristen signed up for and had trained for both in college and in her time as a nurse,” Kevin Sevier said. “We encouraged her to embrace the moment as she would call us when residents in Boston were applauding and cheering for the medical workers at shift change from their apartment windows.”
Leahy said running helped her develop a mental toughness that has been helpful during the pandemic.
“If you can get over your fear of things in your mind that are holding you back, then you can play that into life,” she said. “Just like when you’re out there running and maybe you’re dying on mile three, you tell yourself, “‘Alright, you have to keep going because at some point it will end.’”