Noah Clay, RN, Joins Congresswoman Kuster for State of the Union Address

On Tuesday, March 2, ahead of President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) met with her virtual State of the Union Guest, frontline nurse Noah Clay, RN, to discuss Noah’s work, his experience, and his outlook for the future.

Noah Clay is an Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse at Cheshire Medical Center who has been caring for patients for more than three years while completing his Masters in Nursing Management from Colby-Sawyer College. Noah has provided care for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

While COVID-19 safety protocols limit guests from watching President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address in person, Rep. Kuster invited Noah to join virtually to honor his commitment and that of his colleagues to the well-being of their communities and their tireless work to save lives during the pandemic.

“It’s impossible to overstate the essential role of our Granite State health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Kuster. “Throughout every surge and every variant, they have been on the frontlines, putting themselves in harm’s way to save lives and push back against this deadly virus. Our state and our country would not be where we are without them, and it is my honor to invite Noah Clay, an ICU nurse at Cheshire Medical Center, to be my virtual guest to the State of the Union this year. Noah and his fellow health care workers are the true heroes behind America’s progress, and I’m proud to uplift their stories.”

"Beginning my nursing career in the midst of a pandemic was something that I never could have anticipated,” said Noah. “The acuity of care, experiences I gained, and the death that I witnessed were things I expected to see over a long career in nursing, not within two years. Cheshire Medical Center has a strong sense of community, and the staff within the ICU are some of the best medical professionals I have had the opportunity to work with. I would not be the nurse I am today without the amazing support and guidance of our ICU staff."

A Keene native, Noah graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Colby-Sawyer College in 2020 and completed his Masters in Nursing Management from Colby-Sawyer College in 2022. He is an early career RN who came directly into the ICU specialty in 2020.

“I don’t know what it is to take care of a patient, as a nurse, without wearing a mask,” Noah says. “Right from the get-go, we were with COVID patients.” As information about the new virus changed rapidly and personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply, his team relied on the guidance of experts, such as Robert Westlake, MD, ICU intensivist at Cheshire and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and Aalok Khole, MD, infectious disease specialist at Cheshire.

“We were still learning. COVID was still relatively new, we didn’t have the vaccine,“ says Noah. Like all frontline healthcare workers, he adapted rapidly to changing information and learned critical care skills–not previously taught in nursing school—on the go. “Two years later we have it down to a T and all of our systems in place, but it was definitely challenging.”

Watch their full conversation, including Congresswoman Kuster’s assistance finding PPE for Cheshire Medical Center; Noah’s experience caring for patients during the recent surge that demanded temporary ICU beds be set up in the Endoscopy Suite; and how his experience affects the direction of his future career.