It has been a full year since the Midcoast had its first cases of COVID-19. In recognition of this anniversary, we reached out to interview some of the health care workers who have made so many sacrifices to take care of us.
Erin Leonard, RN, didn’t always know she wanted to be a nurse. She first started studying early childhood education before she got her bachelor's degree in nursing.
During the pandemic, all of our lives changed immensely. But in early months, protocols and requirements for front line workers were changing almost every day. It was not an easy time.
Leonard remembers her initial thoughts: “I was scared of getting COVID. I was scared of giving someone COVID.” Adjusting became a habit and this environment became the new normal and not so scary.
She felt very fortunate to be in Maine, and explained: “Those videos from New York City right when the pandemic started, said it all.”
She feels proud of the work they have done at Pen Bay to keep the community safe. Leonard was given the opportunity to work at the vaccine clinics and she remembers how grateful the recipients have been.
“It's amazing that a year later, there have been millions of doses of a vaccine made,” she said.
Leonard works in labor and delivery welcoming new babies into the world. The pandemic has forced the hospital to impose strict visitation policies. Now only the parents of the baby are allowed. So the nurses have had to provide more support: Zoom and Facetime have become the new way for parents to safely introduce their newborn to family and friends.
This unprecedented time requires quite a bit of resilience. Leonard has learned this from her family at home. She said: “Just watching what my kids have gone through to put up with all the changes with COVID.” She reminds us that we have all learned what’s most important to us. For Leonard and many of us, it is family. And with travel restrictions just being together became a huge struggle. The little things are what we cherish now.
As Leonard looked back on the past year, she says she’s learned not to get caught up in the drama of current events. She learned that it's OK to worry about all the things that are going on in the world but you have to be able to control it so it doesn’t take over.
For Leonard, she’s learned to focus on what she loves to do: help people.