The Logo of The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta - Purple Crest with Bishop's Mitre

“Here Am I, Send Me.” A Nurse Heads to New York

Apr 8, 2020

By Rebecca Land Segrest, RN

Editor’s Note: Rebecca Land Segrest is Campus Missioner for the Northwest Georgia Canterbury Club which includes Berry College, Shorter College, and Georgia Highlands. A Registered Nurse working in critical care since 2004, Rebecca will be leaving Easter Sunday for eight weeks in New York City where she will provide relief in overcrowded hospitals. This is her first-person account.

I don’t really know what to expect when I get there, but I am sure I will quickly find out. I have been in numerous situations where you don’t know what you’re getting into when you respond, but you go, because someone needs your help, praying that your training is enough.

I grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, then came to North Georgia for college. After graduating from Berry College in 2002 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Chemistry minor, I decided that nursing school was the route for me. I graduated from Floyd College in 2004, becoming a Registered Nurse and immediately went to work in Critical Care in Tifton, Georgia.

In 2006, I returned to Rome and continued to work in the ICU, primarily in the Cardiovascular ICU with post open heart patients. Glenn and I married, and I soon began travelling as a contract nurse. My first assignment allowed us to move to Arizona and be a support for my family, who needed resources in the area. Working as a travel nurse gave me the opportunity to be in Valdosta near my grandparents the year that they both died. We came back to Rome in 2011, to be available for my Godson, who needed our support, and I took a full-time position away from the medical field, though I maintained my RN license and worked as needed in the ICU.

In 2015, I went back into nursing full time, working at an ambulatory surgery center. I circulate and scrub in the OR, as well as float to the PACU, pre-Op, and discharge areas. The early mornings in the OR mean that we usually finish early and since 2017 that has given me the opportunity to take on the role of Campus Missioner for the Northwest Georgia Canterbury Club, serving Berry College, Shorter College, and Georgia Highlands. For almost 20 years, Glenn and I have both been volunteers with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue Services, on the Cave/Cliff/High Angle Technical Rescue team. I have always felt a need to help and to serve others.

As our surgery center is currently doing very few surgeries, to limit contacts and conserve personal protective equipment, my administrators are working with me to allow me the time to go where I am needed. In these situations, many people want to do something and feel useful. For most people, that’s staying home, limiting your contacts, and trying not to use the healthcare system, as it is already so taxed. But when the news started coming out that New York was in desperate need of staff, I knew that I was needed.

I will be working at Columbia University Medical Center, part of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. I will be providing direct patient care in the ICU float pool for eight weeks. I could be pulled to any area of the hospital, though I anticipate being in the ICU or ER. Truthfully, I don’t know what to expect, so I can’t really give you a better idea of what I’ll be doing. I’ll be renting a room in an apartment with three other nurses who are coming to the area for the same reason, so spending off days with new people might be fun.

I am fortunate to have a supportive family, that wants to contribute in the most meaningful way possible. I have the training and the availability to go to the areas that need the help of healthcare workers the most, how could I not? How better can I serve Christ than to serve my neighbor?

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:26

We’d Love to Hear from You

If you or someone you know is volunteering in this time of pandemic, please share the experience with other faithful people by emailing

Have You Read the Sequel?

First Week on Front Lines of COVID-19 Marked by Sadness and Unexpected Joy for Nurse from Diocese of Atlanta