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Facing Down the Beast - Front Line Healthcare Workers During Covid-19

Kim Epp Frenette

For many of us, the Covid-19 pandemic feels like a strange dream.  Health care workers on the front line of Covid care face it as a very real nightmare.
This struck full force when I spoke with registered nurse Jess Clark. It was her first day off after being pulled into a three-week emergency stint at a senior-care center hit hard by Covid-19.  Jess has seen tough situations across her varied nursing career, but this was profound. 
It moves so quickly. Trying to give people a chance to say goodbye over a phone or tablet was so heartbreaking…” Jess recounted.  Several patients did not survive, and because mortuary workers could not enter the building, Jess and her colleagues had to transport the bodies outside. “It made this virus so personal.”
Fast-paced 8 to 12-hour shifts are never easy, but essential PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) added additional challenges.  “We never realized how much older people rely on seeing our faces, and on lipreading,” Jess said by way of explaining her constantly sore throat.  “We had to do a lot of shouting through the masks.”  Worry the sore throat came from catching the virus itself - a distinct possibility for frontline healthcare professionals – was never far from her mind, or that of fellow nurses.
Despite all, Jess was clear that “on the hardest day, I was only grateful we could be there, and make a difference.”  Perhaps that selfless spirit is why so many people tagged Jessica for our “Thank Your Angel” TuckTop Challenge.  Congratulations Jess!
We want to recognize all those tagged - Jessica, Debbie Carse, Alison Lesley Shields, Kim Jackson Twin, JL Faulds, and Kelley Gualtieri for choosing a career that matters to our collective health.
Our sincerest thanks.

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