Cheryl is an LPN in a rural acute care facility.

When COVID hit she thought, “We’ve got this!”

But they didn’t... they had nothing.

Working during the pandemic has been awful. Cheryl and her colleagues are short-staffed and burnt out. They are doing everything they know how to do in this unprecedented time and yet are expected to do more, but there isn’t more of them left to give.

Cheryl became an LPN because her grandfather received palliative home care. She remembers the staff coming into his home every day, even on holidays. Their devotion allowed her grandpa to stay in his own home for as long as possible. She’ll never remember the names or roles of the staff but she does remember what they afforded her family: time. She wanted to be the person in her clients’ families’ lives that provided the same comfort and is hopeful that she has succeeded in that.

For the past 12 years, Cheryl's days have consisted of washing patients up, setting them up for meals, assisting with feeds, passing medication, preparing for inpatient testing and assessments, reviewing blood work, portering patients to testing, helping patients to ambulate, changing wound dressings, and admitting and discharging patients. They also do a million other things that help patients recover, all while fielding calls from family and doctors. Work is always busy as an LPN, but she has cherished those moments when she has been able to spend time with patients and sit with people to actually listen to their concerns.

Today, Cheryl is emotionally and physically exhausted. She has constant anxiety because every day her phone chimes constantly to cover staffing shortages. She wants to help, but she has no more to give. Protocols haven’t relaxed where she works. Nothing has changed for inpatient units, in fact, some things have gotten worse.

Cheryl, we can’t thank you enough for being there on the front line during this pandemic. Your dedication during these tough times means the world to your coworkers and your patients. Thank you for all that you've done, and all that you continue to do to improve the lives of patients.

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