Healthcare Workers’ Experiences

Lily Ware, Features Columnist

Healthcare is a very fundamental element in our society. As the global pandemic COVID-19 took over America it became much more necessary to keep the patients safe and healthy at medical facilities. Healthcare workers have been an essential group of people when keeping patients safe.

There are many different types of facilities when it comes to medical care, whether it isa hospital or a nursing home, they need to do their best to keep everyone there safe. The employees risk their lives every day to save another’s life. 

In an interview with Hannah Spitzley, who works at Ingham County Medical Center in Okemos Michigan she stated how the part of the facility she works in changed at the beginning of the pandemic.

“Starting in March we were not yet wearing masks, and we began COVID meetings three times a week,” Spitzley said. “No visitors were allowed in the facility, families started going to windows and our activities department started zoom sessions for our residents.” 

The Ingham County Care facility went through some changes as more was found out about COVID-19. 

“We initially were told to wear cloth masks, then surgical masks, now if we are around residents we are required to wear a KN95 and goggles or a shield. Since March we are just now allowing the ‘non-essential’ workers back in. Our first outbreak was in April, this is when all group activities were canceled for the residents. Starting in June we have had a COVID test weekly.” Splitzley said.

For workers like Hannah, they had to be fearful of seeing their family members. 

“We were not allowed to leave the state without losing our job. Initially, I was fearful to see my mother in law who has cancer, and my elderly grandmother; particularly after our first positives.” Spitzlety said. 

Another healthcare worker, Alexis Taylor,  worked on both the outbreak hall and COVID unit at Ingham County Medical Care facility shared her personal experience as a healthcare worker. 

“At the very beginning of COVID we were required to wear a surgical mask, this later changed to a KN95 mask and face shield,” Taylor said. 

Taylor also shared some of the changes that were made in her personal life because of being a healthcare worker. 

“We were asked to limit grocery store trips and had to change clothes before entering the house and shower before being around family. Could not visit family and had to disinfect the car after every trip to work.” Taylor said. 

These changes were necessary to maintain the safety of healthcare workers and their patients but caused a lot of change in these workers’ lives. 

Vicki Phillips, a healthcare worker at a Michigan hospital shared how her facility handled the COVID-19 pandemic in the beginning. 

“My facility went to only one visitor/support person, I work postpartum, my hospital was really nice because several other hospitals in the area didn’t allow husbands or significant others in labor or postpartum. We also started wearing masks,” Phillips said. 

As time went on, her hospital went through some changes to keep their patients safe. 

“Now our patients and visitors have to wear masks. Our staff in women’s services cannot float to any unit. We also started testing every mom that comes in now that we have the rapid tests,” Philips stated. 

Without healthcare workers, the pandemic would have cost even more lives than have already been lost. These essential workers had to go through so many changes to keep Americans safe.