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Nursing student Kaleigh Petit (left) interns in Rhode Island Hospital's COVID-19 units

Kaileigh Petit, a senior nursing majoring and president of the Rhode Island College Student Nurses Association, is putting her life on the line at Rhode Island Hospital.  

“I am a student nurse intern, delivering patient care at the bedside. I take vital signs and provide more direct nursing care, such as sterile specimen collections, cardiac or telemetry monitoring, oxygen administration, intravenous therapy, urinary catheterizations, and much more,” explains Petit. She is also responsible for patient safety, like reducing fall risks and safe patient transfers. 

Petit admits that she never would have imagined living such an experience as a nursing student. “At first it was very scary, but I reminded myself I chose to be in a field where the unknown is real. I am proud to be a part of the nursing staff at Rhode Island Hospital taking care of COVID-19 patients.”

Although she understands COVID-19 is a serious virus that she could easily contract, Petit is grounded in a sense of purpose. “I risk myself because I can see past this virus, when a patient needs my hand to hold theirs,” she says.

Every time she enters a “warm unit” (a section of the hospital with all COVID positive patients), Petit dons all the required personal protective equipment — hair net, N95 mask, protective shield, gowns and gloves — for her own safety and that of her patients.

“Staying safe and healthy during this time is very challenging,” she says. Petit recommends drinking a lot of water and adds, “Eating fresh food like fruits and vegetables is important because getting those essential vitamins will help protect your body.” 

Petit also believes that this situation has forever changed her. “It really puts in perspective how special life is. We tend to take a lot of things for granted and this crisis really shows that every little moment matters, whether it is big or small.”

“It is also really great to see the community coming together during times like these. Everyone is showing their love and support to nurses and health care workers. We are so appreciative of that.”

This story is Part 6 in a series of stories about members of the Rhode Island College community serving various roles at Rhode Island Hospital during the COVID-19 crisis. Read the other parts here: Part 1Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5