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Health Team

Duke nurse cares for children -- her own and COVID patients in ICU

Posted November 17, 2021 4:17 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2021 8:32 p.m. EST

— Duke University Hospital nurse Carrie Mohagheghi draws motivation from being a mom.

For most of the pandemic, Mohagheghi worked on the pediatric floor, caring for children sick with COVID.

"Nobody likes to see kids sick. It's hard to see a sick kid," she said.

Motherhood makes her a better nurse.

"You know how you want to be taken care of or how you would want someone to talk to your own kids," she said.

What really pained her about COVID was the need to keep patients isolated. She felt for a child alone in a hospital room.

"It's hard for a kid to understand why they have to be in a room by themselves, and that's hard when you have a kid that wants you to be in the room with them, and you can't just stay in a COVID room," she said.

Jennifer Quinn, nurse manager on the pediatric floor, said Mohagheghi was front and center in prepping the pediatric unit for COVID, making sure everyone knew how to wear personal protective equipment, making sure there was no language barrier for patients.

"She was so compassionate. She was worried about non-English speaking families, advocating for their needs and making sure they understood through translation," Quinn said of Mohagheghi.

Like any nurse, Mohagheghi has felt drained by the pandemic, but ultimately, she finds her work fulfilling.

"Everybody that goes into nursing goes in for a reason," she said. "Nobody goes in it for the money. It's always the reward we get for taking care of people."

Much as she loves children, Mohagheghie wanted a new challenge. She recently moved to the adult ICU.

There, she sees a lot of suffering.

"And I've seen some patients make some pretty miraculous turnarounds, and that's pretty awesome to have a small part in that," she said.

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