Coronavirus Diaries: A heartfelt thank you to all my colleagues on the frontline.

A heartfelt thank you to all my colleagues on the frontline.

by Marjorie Serrano LPN

I’ve been a nurse at Elim Park Health Care Center for the last five years and genuinely love my work here in our rehabilitation East unit, helping our residents recover after an illness or surgical procedure. It’s wonderfully rewarding to see a resident get better step-by-step, day by day. I also have been so proud to serve alongside some of the best healthcare professionals I’ve encountered during my fifteen years as an LPN.  The last few months, however, have heightened the respect I feel for my fellow nurses and all the Elim Park staff more than I ever could have imagined.

Though we are one big team here at Elim Park, in early spring when the virus spread through Connecticut, we had to “divide and conquer” to take care of the different healthcare needs of our residents. While I remained in the rehabilitation unit, not assigned to The Pines (the Covid Unit), many of my nursing colleagues were. I especially want to say thank you to the staff of The Pines who cared for residents diagnosed with the virus and had to remain incredibly strong for our residents and their families during this difficult time.  I know these compassionate nurses had to stand in for family members many times and comfort our residents. I am sure it wasn’t easy because, as more than one nurse told me, “This could be my father or mother fighting the virus.” We couldn’t have done all this without our incredible team of CNAs.  Our CNAs worked long hours and jumped in on any task, with courage and grace.  As residents were cared for in private rooms to try and stop the virus from spreading, cleaning these rooms and our facility was constantly required and to a new level of intensity.  I know many CNAs & nurses pitched in and did housekeeping chores to assist our wonderful team of housekeepers during this challenging time.

The pandemic has caused several unforeseen challenges & has taken a toll on many physically, emotionally, financially and has literally impacted everyday life on a global scale. Yet, I can honestly say, that in this time of crisis, so much incredible good has occurred. I had the privilege of working side-by-side one of the best nurses I know, my co-worker and partner on The East unit, Cynthia Clark, to ensure staff were following safety guidelines and wearing PPE, which helped to keep the virus from spreading to our unit. We all witnessed the courage of The Pines unit staff showing up every day, donning Tyvek suits and putting their lives and health at risk to care for others. We saw the Elim Park Health Care Administrator suiting up and personally cleaning residents’ rooms on the unit. The management team made sure that staff had enough PPE and did everything in their power to keep the residents and staff safe. All the nurses have a newfound respect for our CNO, Janice Lexton, who worked two months straight without taking a day off, to ensure that staff were safe and felt supported—all while dealing with intense concerns from residents and families.  Additionally, the interior & exterior signage at Elim Park, the “Thank You” hearts from the community, “Thank you Thursday” lunches for all staff, and the cheer parade, are all little things that uplifted us in a big way.

Today, while we have reached a better shore and our residents are doing very well, we remain alert and ready. That’s why I want to personally thank Elim Park for giving me the opportunity to work in such a clean, beautiful environment with exceptionally high standards of resident care and thank my peers, who are absolute heroes in my book for what they do on daily basis, but particularly during this Covid-19 crisis. While this has been an incredible challenge for everyone, it’s also been infinitely rewarding to know you are working with the best of the best!