LOS ANGELES – Caring for patients at a critical stage can be challenging and rewarding for ICU nurses like Ben Trousdale. But in mid-March, when the number of COVID-19 cases began to increase at a fast pace, Trousdale also found himself exposed to the virus.

“I felt like I had a pit in my stomach. I was just really worried that I passed it on to patients or coworkers and then also I didn’t know if it was safe for me to go home and be around my wife,” Trousdale said.


What You Need To Know

  • UCI nurse was exposed to COVID-19

  • Tested negative for the virus

  • Volunteered to workin COVID ward

  • Helped implement special protocols for transporting COVID patients

With the support of his wife, Trousdale waited for his test results at home. It would be nine long days before he would learn that he tested negative for the virus.

Trousdale was eager to get back to work. On that same day, he called in to the hospital asking to see if they needed him to come in. This time, he offered his help specifically in the COVID-19 ICU ward.  

“They very quickly said, 'yes, we do need you to come in,' because I work in the ICU and they need ICU-trained nurses all the time. Especially, because we had three different ICU’s that lost their staff because of exposure,” Trousdale said.  

On his first day back, the hospital asked Trousdale to create a way to help transport COVID-19 patients to, from, and within the hospital to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The result was a new safety protocol that designated three elevators for the COVID-19 Response Team and reduced the interactions with other staff and patients within the hospital.



“In general, being a nurse, especially in the ICU, is a very rewarding job. So for me to be able to volunteer and work in the COVID unit during this unprecedented time, it was just a no brainer for me,” Trousdale said.

While there’s no clear answer as to when this COVID-19 pandemic will be over, nurses like Trousdale continue to do what they can to help our communities recover.