Philadelphia nurse heading to COVID-19 hotspot

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Sultan Howard is a native son of Philadelphia's Germantown section and a Central High School graduate.

The 38-year-old dialysis licensed practical nurse has taken our city's motto to heart.

"I'm born and raised in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. I was always raised to give and help more. I'm also an Army veteran so one of our vitals is service above self; put the nation before the needs of my own. That's what I'm all about," says Sultan Howard, LPN.

Starting on Saturday, Howard will commute to St. Michael's Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.

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He's stepping up to battle COVID-19.

"I heard they are extremely dire for assistance," said Howard.

The city of Newark has nearly 3,500 cases of COVID-19 and a population six times smaller than Philadelphia.

"I'll be asked to do things that I typically wouldn't be asked, however, I am a nurse so I am trained to do those things, as well," says Howard.

He's been placed at the hospital by Mary-Ellen Betterton of Access Nursing Services, which connects staff to care facilities experiencing a shortage.
Because of coronavirus, needs in northern New Jersey and New York are at extremes.

"Single rooms are double rooms, double rooms are quadruple rooms," Betterton said.

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As the virus spreads, Betterton expects the need for nurses to shift throughout the country.

"When New York and New Jersey quiet down, all of the nurses will go to the next hot spot. We just have to help each other right now," she said.

For Howard, helping others is what he does. He's now feeling the love from the public.

"It is almost if I'm in the military again. A lot of times I would be in the airport with my military uniform on and I would get people come up to me and say, 'Thank you for your service. Thank you for your help,' and I'm actually getting that now in my scrubs," he said. "It's astounding to me."
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