Local traveling nurse who volunteered to be on the front line shares her experience

Before Jacquelyn Klocko walks into work at her hospital in New Jersey, she's wearing a mask and gloves and getting her temperature checked.

It's what's needed to keep her safe to help an area overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

Less than six hours in the car separates Pittsburgh and the New York City suburbs.

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But for Klocko, that’s where the similarities end.

“It feels like a whole different world. I would hate for Pittsburgh to have to go through this,” Klocko said.

Last week, we introduced you to Klocko, who is from Shaler, as she was about to begin a nursing assignment in Bellevue, New Jersey -- a coronavirus hot spot.

“It’s not just like travelers are needed to help with the influx of patients, it’s also to help with the staffing. Half of the staff is out with COVID,” Klocko said.

Working 12-hour shifts on the front lines, she described scenes that are haunting.

“I actually saw in-person two big tractor-trailer types with stacked shelves on each side of just body bags,” Klocko said.

Others are full of resilience.

“When a COVID patient is taken off of a ventilator or is being discharged home, they play, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles over the speakers throughout the whole hospital. It’s just so cool and gives everyone that hope that we can get through this,” Klocko said.

It’s hope Klocko carries with her into the hospital every day. Hope that what she will experience over the next 12 weeks won’t follow her home to Shaler.

“It makes me feel lucky to live and be from Pittsburgh where it's not quite like this. But it also makes me very grateful that I'm here to help,” Klocko said.

Klocko said seeing so many people that have been directly impacted by this pandemic has put everything into perspective.

Her advice is to follow the guidelines and keep social distancing so we don’t experience what’s happening just a few hours away.