A Valley nurse and U.S. Army Veteran wrote a tribute song in honor of nurses who have worked on COVID-19 units during the pandemic.
Joshua Strickland is the lead singer of The Bayou Bandits. He is also a registered nurse at a Phoenix Hospital, and an Army Veteran.
Strickland wrote "A Nurse's Story (Save You)" about the day in the life of a hospital nurse during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. His inspiration behind the song came from his own experience as a COVID-19 nurse. Last March, Strickland left his family here in Arizona while he went to work as a rapid response travel nurse in New Jersey.
"I remember getting off the elevator, no orientation, no nothing. Then all of a sudden, 'Here’s your patient load, welcome to COVID,'" said Strickland. "It was like walking into the lion’s den, nobody knew what was going on."
He remembers the beginning of the pandemic as an "all hands on deck" mentality. If you could help with patients then you were utilized.
"They were working hard up there, because that was their community, that was their families," said Strickland. "Here we are trying to help and, when you say we were thrown to the wolves, we were thrown to the wolves."
In the song, Strickland, who is originally from Walker, Louisiana, starts by referencing a long 14 plus hour day and sings about patients on the ventilators and the lucky patients who survived the virus.
"Daddy's getting out he passed the test. He caught a lucky bed." sings Strickland. "A child has his father home tonight. That's the story in my head."
"2020 is considered the year of the nurse, and it had been a hell of a year," said Strickland. "Nurses are the backbone of medicine."
In 2014, Strickland was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan as a gunner, driver and dismounted patrolman for the U.S. Army. As a gunner, he would scan areas for enemies, and as a driver, he would scan the ground of IEDs, improvised explosive devices.
One of his closest friends, and Strickland's Team Leader, Sgt. Ben James, lost his battle to PTSD after serving multiple tours for the Army when he committed suicide. In 2018 he wrote the song "Kandahar" about the loss of Sgt. James.
"There was not too many people I would follow into battle before him," said Strickland.
This weekend with the Veterans IV Veterans Motorcycle Association, Strickland and The Bayou Bandits will be playing live music for the Heroes Helping Heal event at Dillon’s KC Western Trails in Morristown, Ariz, northwest of Sun City West.