When I think back on my experiences with hospitals and health care, what stands out most vividly are the kind and competent actions of nurses and other health-care workers.
There was the hospice home health-care worker who made sure to put my mother-in-law’s lightly scented face cream on each day, the smell triggering powerful memories as we hugged her, held her hands and said goodbye. There was the postpartum nurse who helped me take a shower after the birth of my first child, keeping me steady as I thought to myself “wow, they call it labour for a reason.” And earlier this year, when one of my daughters fainted after receiving some catch-up vaccines at Exhibition Park, there were four calm health-care workers who seemed to appear as if from nowhere to make sure she was OK (she was) and to keep us both from panicking (it worked).
I am certain these small but important aspects of good health care take place every day, and I hope health-care workers know what a difference they made and make. I also know these routine daily actions are nothing compared to what so many health-care workers have been doing as they approach the two-year mark of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. From unit clerks to Licensed Practical Nurses to Registered Nurses and beyond, they have worked long hours, walked past protesters to start their shifts, postponed time off, faced angry patients and their families, provided exceptional care, and so much more, coming back day after day to help make sure the people of our province and country have the best care possible.
All of us at Lethbridge College are grateful for the heroic health care that has been provided since the start of the pandemic – and proud of the fact that so many people working in these roles are also alumni. That’s why we created this issue’s cover story and photo essay starting on page 12. We wanted to showcase and celebrate the extraordinary work that our grads and all health-care workers are doing in the most difficult of circumstances, just three kilometres down the road from the college at Chinook Regional Hospital.
We couldn’t have created this special story without a remarkable partnership with the talented team at Alberta Health Services. Just as we did in our Winter 2019 special issue focusing on the opioid crisis, we have collaborated with AHS to tell a story that we hope all of our readers appreciate, which means you’ll be able to see these photos through AHS communications channels as well as the college’s. Special thanks go out to Gwen Wirth, a former communications manager here at the college who now is director of Communications in AHS’s South Zone; to Leah Hennel, AHS photographer and senior advisor, Story Hub; and to Vicki Hall, AHS director of Story Hub and Social Media, all of whom worked together to make this happen when there were already so many other demands on their time.
And the biggest thanks of all go out to every single person who has made someone’s life and health-care experience a little better since the start of the pandemic. For your acts of good health-care small and large, our community is grateful.
Lisa Kozleski, Editor