From El Paso to New York

Black and white silhouette of the Statue of Liberty and NY landscapeA TTUHSC El Paso graduate makes the 2,000-mile journey to fight COVID-19


Heath Bailey in personal protective equipment (PPE) at NYU Winthrop Hospital.

As New York became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heath Bailey, a 2018 graduate of the Hunt School of Nursing, joined nurses across the country who left home to help save the lives of countless individuals admitted to the state’s hospitals.

Bailey, who lives in El Paso, spent this past spring working at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Long Island, New York. For eight weeks, he worked strictly with COVID-19 patients, many of whom have underlying health conditions such as diabetes and cancer.

“The schooling and training I received at the Hunt School of Nursing was crucial to me being here helping with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bailey said. “The discipline and rigorous training that I received from my professors is what has kept me going. They taught me that in a time of need you have to step up and help out. This is what leadership is all about – being able to work the front lines and not looking back.”

Caring for patients with COVID-19 has been a learning experience for Bailey, who has plans to further his education as he continues his career in nursing. “I feel that I’ve learned a great deal from fellow nurses, doctors – even from patients,” he said. “I think this experience will help me back in El Paso because I’ll be more knowledgeable on what to do, having been at the epicenter of where it all started, maybe even share ideas of what’s worked and what hasn’t.”

Standing on the front lines of a pandemic, Bailey said the moments that stand out reflect compassion, especially from his fellow health care professionals. “Every nurse, doctor and staff member worked endless hours to help each and every patient. I’ve seen many awesome cases where people have recovered. I’ve seen the love of family members checking up on their loved ones constantly since they’re not able to physically be there.”