During the summer months, Sam has worked as a full-time nursing assistant. His primary job typically involved helping the nurses with various tasks in a long-term care unit for patients with dementia.
This past summer, however, Sam had a very different routine — he worked as a nursing assistant in the COVID unit for Spectrum Health Lakeland. In order to keep his elderly grandparents safe during this time, Sam moved out of his home and into a hotel.
“COVID-19 has caused a lot of stress but also has made me understand how important nurses are, especially during a pandemic,” he explains.
Sam began each day in the COVID unit by putting on all the adequate protection: an N-95 face mask, a face shield and a suit to cover his whole body. Most of the people he worked with in the unit were either in critical condition or bedbound. Sam’s job was to provide assistance with personal hygiene, take vital signs to measure for signs of improvement or worsening symptoms, and give assistance with feeding and setting up meal trays.
“I have seen God working in my life by allowing me to work somewhere like this even though it exposes me to very traumatic and stressful situations that are outside of my comfort zone,” Sam explains. “I have seen God working in the lives of those I help by bringing them healing and encouragement through their caretakers.”
Sam views his work as a ministry because he realizes that he and the other caretakers are among the very few people with whom COVID patients have personal contact. “I feel called to this because not many people are willing to work in a hazardous environment,” he says. “We are in direct contact with people infected so we have to have a powerful reason to be willing to work here. I hope to impact those I work with through doing the best job possible to assist those affected.”
Hannah Gallant, contract writer, University Communication