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How COVID hospital surges forced a Cleveland nurse to quit and become a Tower City store owner

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Posted at 7:31 AM, Feb 07, 2022

CLEVELAND — In the midst of what seems like constant COVID chaos and burnout, a local nurse tells us she’s called it quits as her mental and emotional wellbeing become under more distress than ever before.

Tucked inside Cleveland’s Tower City, there's a new clothing boutique called Mi’Amour. Inside there’s an oversized gold logo that pulls you in and where clothes and accessories are tagged and placed to perfection. There, on the second floor, is where Meih Stevenson says she feels most at peace.

“I am fascinated with fashion,” she said. “I feel like if you look good you feel good.”

The Cleveland native and first-time business owner is determined to follow her lifelong passion, which was originally going to be an online store, after walking away from a career consisting of ICUs and nursing scrubs.

“I love nursing. I’m still a nurse. Ultimately, it’s still in me,” Stevenson explained. “It just took a toll on me.”

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Meih Stevenson.

Stevenson says looking back at when she started her nursing career in 2003, she never imagined a virus overwhelming hospitals or constantly crying during overnight shifts. Nor did she imagine she’d now be possibly dealing with PTSD.

“I was just emotionally drained from the whole experience," she said.

She explained her 19-year-long experience ended after a cold blue call about two months ago in Houston. Her patient was just 21-years-old and was hospitalized as he battled COVID for months.

Stevenson said, while fighting back tears, “unfortunately he didn’t make it.” She was eventually left comforting his mother who “felt responsible for giving her son COVID .”

“For her to have to see that was a lot for me,” she said. “Who wants to see their child go through all of that and still just not make it…I have children…[and] at that moment I felt her pain.”

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Meih Stevenson.

Stevenson says at that moment she knew she had reached her breaking point.

“I was just like yeah, I think I’ve had enough of this. I need a break," she said.

And she’s not alone.

A Morning Consult research surveyshowed 18% of healthcare workers have quit since the pandemic started, while 12 percent have been laid off.

After leaving her nursing post in Houston, Stevenson came back home and “went full fledge with the business” after expressing interest on an Instagram post from Tower City looking for businesses to move in. She says now being inside her fashion sanctuary feels relieving and she hopes she can help other women feel the same, but also confident.

Stevenson’s store is one of several new businesses helping revitalize Tower city. There are currently eight retail shops open for business and five more are expected to open soon.