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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started its devastating roll across the country, the health care work environment was experiencing challenges – especially for nurses in Austin. 

A nurse in Austin not only battles coronavirus in the hospital but also in the classroom. The nurse is working in a hospital in Austin while pursuing her doctorate. This is the story of nurse Gillian.

Nurse Gillian “Gidge” Lukes was standing in the parking lot of an Austin-area hospital in late February when a woman approached her, uttering words that would change every aspect of Lukes’ life for the next two months.

The 46-year-old nurse quickly followed her instincts and rushed to put a mask on the woman, immediately placing her in a negative pressure room, which ventilates air to prevent contamination. It was the first case of COVID-19, the illness linked to the Covid-19, that Lukes had ever seen.

“I was the first to make contact with her, so I assumed the role of her nurse,” Lukes said, explaining she didn’t want to put her fellow nurses’ lives at risk unnecessarily.

However, working up to 70 hours a week to care for the woman and the sudden influx of COVID-19 patients that followed became challenging for Lukes.

In addition to running a floor of 200 employees by day at an Austin Ascension Seton hospital, she’s a full-time doctoral candidate at Baylor University once her feet hit her doorstep at night. Lukes said she completes anywhere between 15 and 25 hours of coursework from home each week.

Read the full story here.

If you are a Nurse in Austin who is currently facing any disciplinary issues before the Texas Board of Nursing, please contact Austin nurse attorney Yong J. An, call or text at 832 428 5679 or Mr. An has represented over 100 nurses before the Texas Board of Nursing since 2006.