Two Nurses Describe Fighting COVID-19 in New York City

NEW YORK — Nurses who worked in the Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park, New York saw God’s faithfulness even during a global health crisis in COVID 19. Samaritan’s Purse follows the stories of two of the nurses who served with them during this challenging time.

Samaritan’s Purse treated hundreds of Coronavirus patients in the middle of Central Park in New York City.

Kristen Dirks:

My name is Kristen Dirks, and I am in charge of the intensive care unit.

I could have never guessed even a month ago that I would be here in Central Park doing this work in our emergency field hospital. It feels surreal. Sometimes I still feel like it’s just a movie. It doesn’t feel like this is actually happening.

Typically on my way to work here, I’m praying for what occurred in the night, if certain patients made it through the night. I’m also thinking of my family back home.

In the intensive care unit, whenever a patient is put into a deep sedation, we then take over for them. We are providing nutrition for them through a feeding tube. For some patients, we also have to help their hearts beat well by giving them certain medications. Our role as the nurse is to step in and provide comfort when we can. So it’s a heavy burden to bear, knowing that for some of these patients, when they are passing away, that we are the last people holding their hand, singing over them. I think of my mom, if she were in the situation where she was needing care, I’d want someone to just love and be compassionate for her. I try and think of the things that I would want my family to have in their last and final moments, and that’s what we try and do every day when we’re in there.

My hope is found in Christ and the hope that I get to wake up another day. God talks about being close and near to the broken-hearted, and that He lifts us up in spirit. And I know that God hasn’t left us and that He’s here.

Brittany Akinsola and Kristen Dirks spent weeks of their lives fighting the deadly disease.

Brittany Akinsola:

My name is Brittany Akinsola, and I am one of our ICU critical care nurses here in Central Park.

I have visited the city many times. I’ve visited right here in Central Park several times. But I’ve never seen the city in this way before. It’s more difficult because it’s so close to home.

Our patients in the ICU are very sick patients. I’m here to bring hope and love and joy to these patients as well. And so in those moments, those are the things that keep us going and keep us motivated to keep serving and to get up every single day and keep coming back.

When we’re working, there’s always moments where I feel like God is just reminding us of how good He is. We’ll have something very sad happening in the ICU, and then we’ll hear that cowbell outside of our tent. And that means that someone’s going home to reunite with their family, that they’ve been healed from this disease. Every single day, God has dropped little special moments right in front of us, I think just to remind us and to keep us going.

This experience has been–it’s really been an honor to be here and to be a part of this. It’s different than anything I’ve ever done before. And I’ve just seen health care workers unite in a way that I’ve never seen before through this tragedy. But also, it is for sure the strength of the Lord that is in us that keeps us going, and we know that He’s called us to be here for such a time as this.


About Samaritan’s Purse International

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

CONTACT: Melissa Nystrom, [email protected]


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