Former Auburn softball player now an ER nurse in COVID-19 fight

Former Auburn softball player now an ER nurse in COVID-19 fight
Kelsey Bogaards went from softball (left) to ER nurse (right) (Source: Kelsey Bogaards)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Kelsey Bogaards helped Auburn’s softball team make it to the Women’s College World Series a few years back.

Now she’s helping a bigger crowd as a nurse in the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s been a scary time for healthcare workers,” Bogaards said.

She played softball for Auburn University during its heyday in the mid-2010’s. Now she’s traded in her facemask, for an N-95.

“People say nurses, this is what you signed up for. No we didn’t sign up for a pandemic,” she said.

Bogaards works in the ER at a hospital in South Florida where she regularly sees COVID-19 patients. Less than two years as a nurse, and now she’s thrown right into the thick of a global pandemic.

“It’s scary," Bogaards said. "It’s mentally and physically exhausting for nurses all over the world.”

She and her coworkers sometimes see work days of 12 hours or more in the E-R. Sometimes it can be hard to keep going,

“It’s been a whole roller coaster of learning emotion wise, you’re physically exhausted and it’s just, we’re doing the best we can, you know?” she said.

It’s tough, but the drive and determination she learned in her time on the diamond is actually helping her get through the tough times in the hospital.

“Once you clock in for 12 hours it’s not about you, it’s about the patients you’re caring for," Bogaards said. "I think Auburn has instilled in me that mentality of being tough through tough times.”

And it instilled in her a different mentality. Auburn’s known as a family, and Kelsey’s experience on the plains helps her treat patients like family.

“We’re having to be family members for patients that can’t have family members come in and it’s like we have multiple roles we have to be an advocate for the patient, we have to be their nurse. We also have to make them feel like family,” she said.

So Kelsey plans to keep pressing forward during the tough days in the hope for brighter ones in the future.

“The reality is we have to stay safe. There are people who recover. There’s a lot of people who recover, but there’s a lot of people who are dying from this, so just stay safe. The only thing we can do is look out for each other.”

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