In honor of National Nurses Week, we’re spotlighting two nurses who live right here in Boston—and were supposed to get married on May 9—but who have been working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kate Paulhardt and Dave Carter met in the BIDMC Emergency Department, where they both still work today. “In the beginning we were just friends,” Kate remembers. As she started to get to know everyone, she recalled how gregarious Dave was, how he seemed to know (and talk to) everyone.
“One day we were carpooling with a few people after work to get dinner, and everyone bailed last minute. It was just Dave and I left at the restaurant. Honestly it was one of the best nights of my life, and it wasn’t even a date. We sat at the bar the entire night until they closed, just laughing and getting to know each other,” she remembers.
Both were adamant about not dating at work; Dave says he quite literally ran in the opposite direction to make sure he didn’t kiss her. And yet they grew close, and decided to go out a few months later—both realizing it was a date halfway through. That was four years ago, and the rest is basically history.
Since the pandemic began, work has been, according to the couple, a “roller coaster”: sometimes they’re inundated with vastly sick patients, and sometimes it’s quieter. They say the biggest challenge is the constant change, since much is still unknown about the virus.
Still, Kate insists, “Our job is to treat patients, and that hasn’t changed. I’m happy to have a job and care for people on their worst days. It’s not always easy, but we have amazing coworkers and we support each other as a team.” Dave works night shifts, and Kate alternates between day and night, so there are times when they barely see each other at all.
Once the state enacted the stay-at-home order, the couple called their venue and vendors to postpone their wedding plans. “It was challenging at times, because I was so excited to be done with all the planning and just enjoy the day. It’s hard to know that you have to plan some more,” Kate explains.
But, Dave says, “A wedding is just a day; we’re spending the rest of our lives together. This is just a small blip in a lifetime!”
They’re scheduled to get married next June, but this weekend they’re taking the time off for themselves. Both, incredibly, are also in grad school, and Kate is a SANE nurse (sexual assault nurse examiner), so they say they badly need the time off together. They hope to do a small celebration this year before the big day, but it’ll be dependent on when it’s safe to travel and for people to gather.
Their coworkers have all apparently been wildly supportive, showering the couple with love and (this past week) even a gift basket. The environment’s always stressful, they say, but the people they work with keep them excited to wake up in the morning.
And it’s a testament to both of them that their positivity—towards work and each other—is just as present as ever. “We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone! And get married once this is all over,” says Dave.