Hackensack University Medical Center Nurse Is a Hero Inside and Outside the Hospital
June 06, 2022
Early on the morning of January 5, 2022, Kaitlin Rogers was driving to work on Route 3 when she came upon a sea of brake lights just before the Hackensack River Bridge.
It was barely dawn and freezing rain was pelting her car, so it was hard for Kaitlin to see what lay ahead: a massive, multi-car accident. “I was wondering what had happened and that whatever it was, I was going to be late for my shift,” says Kaitlin, a registered nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Then a man emerged between the cars looking completely frantic and in need of help.”
Kaitlin immediately jumped out of the car and was led to dozens of mangled vehicles, many with passengers in need of medical assistance. “There were people with head and neck injuries, lacerations and one young man lying on the ground,” she recalls.
Compassion and Dedication
At age 25, Kaitlin has been a nurse for about three years. She works in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU) at Hackensack, caring for patients in critical condition who require constant monitoring. “It can be pretty intense but not necessarily to this level,” she says.
Still, Kaitlin quickly jumped into action along with another nurse and several volunteer firemen who had emerged from their totaled cars. With all lanes of traffic closed, the group worked for two hours triaging and assisting the car passengers before paramedics could arrive on the scene. “We were this random group of strangers thrown together, and we did the very best we could,” Kaitlin says.
When the last patient was placed inside an ambulance, Kaitlin didn’t go home but continued on to work.
“When I heard about what Kaitlin did, I was not one bit surprised,” says Mark Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack. “She represents the best of the best at our medical center—a true hero both inside and outside our walls.”
Adds Danielle Loftus, administrative supervisor in the CTICU at Hackensack: “Kaitlin is an amazing nurse, a caring person, and I am not one bit surprised that officers who arrived on the scene identified her as the most skilled provider.”
Kaitlin is grateful for all the care and support she has received from co-workers, like Danielle, who suggested she seek the guidance of WeCare, a confidential peer-to-peer support program, designed to help team members and clinicians manage negative emotional consequences they may experience as a result of their work.
“I am proud to have been there and to have helped so many others,” she says.
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