MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Critical care nurses arguably have one of the toughest jobs in hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the patients don’t recover and that takes its toll on those providing comfort.

CBS2’s Chris Wragge recently spoke to a front-line nurse who prays the worst is behind us.

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“With things started to open, I’m so nervous. Please, please social distance. Be really careful. We just don’t know enough about this virus,” Erica Morley said.

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If there was a person to listen to it’s Morel. She’s just 25, but wise beyond her years. She’s a critical care nurse at Valley Hospital. She cares for the sickest of the sick.

“It has been rough,” Morel said.


Morel admits she’s scared every shift, but knows she was born to care for others and does it without hesitation.

“You’ve had to play the role of final FaceTime-ing patients and their families. If I didn’t they wouldn’t have a chance to say goodbye. I do it all while thinking of what I also need to be doing at the time to keep them alive,” Morel said.

For most of Morel’s patients, since family is not permitted in the hospital, she is the last person they will see.

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“I take their hands, with gloves on, of course, even though I hate that, and I sit with them. No words. I just sit with them to let them know they are not alone,” Morel said.

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When she is done with her shift she comes home to Mahwah to be with her mother, a former nurse who could not be more proud of her daughter.

“She’s our hero. She comes home, tells me her stories, breaks down in tears. She is such a good nurse. I’m so proud of her,” Cindy Morel said of her daughter.

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Even the neighbors know all about Erica and the engagement. The love of her life, Peter Ellis, popped the question in February.

“I assume you know about the engagement? She’s got her whole life ahead of her and she still does it,” Susan Ramirez said.

On March 11, they set a date. That was the last time Erica hugged Peter. For their own safety they see each other once every two weeks.

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“We sit in the driveway and wave from 10 feet apart. It’s not what we want. We want to plan our wedding, start our lives together. But our lives are on hold. Everyone’s lives are on hold,” Erica said.