Meet the Clinicians: Theresa Kossler, RN

Lexington Medical Center is so grateful for the kindness and support from community members as our hospital works to take care of COVID-19 patients during this difficult time.

This month, we produced a new television spot highlighting one of our nurses on the front lines of the pandemic. Her name is Theresa Kossler, RN. Meet her in the video below.

Theresa is a nurse in Lexington Medical Center’s Critical Care Unit, working 12-hour shifts taking care of patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. When she speaks to us from underneath layers of PPE, her voice is mumbled.

She recalls coming home from work the first time she treated a COVID-19 patient in March.

“I had to go home and tell my husband I’d been heavily in contact with a COVID-19 patient,” she said. “I wondered if I should kiss my daughter goodnight. I decided ‘No’ until I knew I was 100 percent safe.”

The entire Critical Care Unit where she works has negative pressure, which helps control the spread of contagious disease by preventing air from escaping from a room.

The PAPR she wears seals her face tightly from ear to ear. Like other nurses, her skin is broken out and irritated from it.

While Theresa and her team follow the latest clinical protocols for COVID-19, meeting patients’ emotional needs at the bedside is challenging.

“Although we communicate with them in the room, we have to protect ourselves, too,” she said. “We can’t just hang out in the room with them.”

She calls families with updates, recalling one particularly tough conversation with a patient’s wife.

“She told me, ‘Please tell him I love him. He has to come home.'”

Theresa tries to stay positive.

“As nurses, we have to be strong and show love and compassion to our patients,” she said. “Just like there has been an end to every crisis we’ve had, this one will end, too. And it will be so glorious.”

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