SAN ANTONIO – Moments after “Good Morning America” interviewed San Antonio nurse Kristen Knott about her experience working in the ICU, she was getting ready for another day on the job.
Her story about working 31 days straight in a local ICU — and her viral Facebook post about 31 things she’s learned during the COVID-19 crisis — was featured on the show’s “Make your Monday” segment.
The segment also featured surprise virtual visits from actors Eric Dane and Kate Walsh of “Grey’s Anatomy,” one of Knott’s favorite shows.
She spoke with KSAT.com shortly after the segment aired, as she was gearing up to head back to the local hospital.
Her main takeaway for San Antonians: take COVID-19 seriously.
“I always tell people when they ask me ‘how is it?’ ... I wish you can just come and see, and walk around the ICU, and maybe people will actually take it seriously,” she said, adding that she’s seen patients her age or younger in the unit for as long as a week.
“Nothing discriminates from this virus. I just wish people would understand that it can hit anyone.”
Her story grabbed the attention of “GMA” after she posted about working every single day in July. In the Facebook post, she shared 31 things she learned while working those long hours.
The lessons ranged from sobering to funny.
Maskne (mask acne) is “so real,” comfortable shoes are essential for nurses, and music at work is an easy mood-booster, she says in the post.
But she also wanted people to know the personal side of being a nurse.
“It’s ok to cry. And to feel. It means you’re human,” she wrote as No. 30 on her list.
For No. 31, she wrote: “You aren’t JUST a nurse.”
“This has really put life in perspective for me. I am definitely more grateful for my family, my friends, my health,” she told “GMA.”
Before the 31-day ICU marathon, Knott left San Antonio to work at a hospital in New Jersey for eight weeks to help with the influx of COVID-19 cases.
She told KSAT.com that she made the decision to go to the Jersey Shore after Gov. Greg Abbott suspended elective surgeries at hospitals, leaving her “off of work for a while.”
“It kind of made me think ... I need to go somewhere where I can put my skills to work, where help is needed.”
Shortly after returning, “everything just hit here in San Antonio,” she said.
When comparing the two coronavirus hotspots, she said the city of San Antonio and hospitals had more time to prepare.
But despite location and preparedness, “the patients were just as sick, the ICUs were just as overloaded.”
She recommends that people stay safe and take precautions to avoid infection.
”You can’t let your guard down.”