Among the army of nurses fighting the battle against COVID-19 is Shelby Zomcik, formerly of Kersey, and a travel nurse currently based in California. 
The 2011 St. Marys Area High School graduate has gone from the Keystone State to the Golden State where she is now on her third nursing assignment, stationed in Santa Maria, Calif. at Marian Regional Medical Center. Zomcik, 27, previously worked in Modesto, Calif. at  Sutter Health and in Merced, Calif. at Dignity Health. 
Travel nurses are in high demand across the US as COVID-19 cases surged through the end of 2020 and into 2021 causing many hospitals to be overwhelmed by patients. According to industry reports, staffing agencies have seen up to three times the demand across the country than they did a year ago. 
The work being done by nurses has taken a heavy toll, leaving them burnt out and mentally strained. Zomcik has been caring for coronavirus patients throughout the pandemic. 
“I just want to say that us nurses are tired, exhausted, and traumatized. We don't want to be called ‘heroes’ or anything because this is our job and we love doing our jobs, but we have never seen anything like this before and we could just really use a break from bagging so many dead bodies,” Zomcik said. “While other people are completely denying the existence of this disease, we are fighting tirelessly against it.”
When the pandemic hit, she was in the middle of her contract working in Modesto. The floor which she was working on was designated as the COVID-19 unit, and that was where Zomcik treated the hospital’s first coronavirus patient.
“The one thing I can say about working in COVID units is that it's stressful, more stressful than usual nursing that is. All of your patients are extremely sick, and with COVID, the patient can go downhill extremely fast. One minute you think they're doing okay, only on a little bit of oxygen, walking around the room, and the next minute they're getting intubated,” Zomcik explained.

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