STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - A 2019 Georgia Southern graduate just finished his first job in nursing. It was to serve in a New York hospital for 21 days during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tucker Westbrook graduated with his nursing degree from Georgia Southern last year. After celebrating that accomplishment, he headed to Asia for a year-long mission trip—that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was really thankful for the time I had in Asia, but I felt like it was just, I really felt like it was unfinished. And I was kind of asking the Lord, you know, what’s your purpose; why did you bring me home,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook would quickly learn why. After quarantining, he looked for ways he could serve using his degree. With prompts from those closest to him, he signed up to help fight the virus in a New York hospital. Much to his surprise, they called him though he had no experience.
“I said I had not worked a job as a nurse. I haven’t worked a professional setting. I have no experience and they said that’s OK. They said we need bodies right now and so I was like alright, you got the right guy,” Westbrook said.
Seventy-two hours later, he was on his way with fellow Georgians. He was placed at Harlem Hospital where he served on a COVID holding unit. He worked 11 consecutive days, had one off and returned for another six long 13-plus hour shifts. He saw a lot of difficult days, but says he also saw hope.
“There were so many things that I prayed for, nurses that would be supportive and helpful, opportunities to really serve and to love people all these things that I prayed for came true, in greater ways than I ever thought they would,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook returned home just this week and is self-isolating at his parents’ house in Butler. He says his three weeks in New York grew him as a nurse and man. While others may rush to call him a hero, he’s pointing the finger at others.
“I’m not the only one that went to do this, but there are so many people who are so much more valiant and braver and more courageous than I am who went and had so much more on the line… and I pray that God blesses these people and blesses them with even greater experiences then I had,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook will return to GSU to study pre-medicine and continue his missionary work.