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Op Ed: 2020 – The year of the healthcare worker

By Ronnie Sloan, FACHE

As we reflect on 2020 and look ahead to a more hope-filled year, I am humbled by the incredible dedication of our care teams at The Outer Banks Hospital and Medical Group. In the most trying year in recent memory, due in no small part to the COVID-19 pandemic, our providers and nurses, therapists, technologists, and all clinical and support staff stepped up to ensure our community was cared for.

Some may think of 2020 as the year of COVID-19, but to me, it is the year of the healthcare worker.

This pandemic brought much uncertainty early on, and the fight continues stronger than ever today. It is my deepest hope that our community is proud of our healthcare workers and their response in the face of uncertainty to do what they do best: provide care to those we love.

The Outer Banks Hospital and Medical Group team members navigated the early days of COVID-19 hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. We learned what measures protected us — wearing a mask, washing hands, and avoiding gatherings. We banded together to support our team members, patients, and loved ones.

Make no mistake: It has not been easy. Our providers, nurses, therapists, technologists, and clinical and support staff have donned layers of PPE, learned to live with masks on for 12-hour shifts, and have stepped up and leaned into their calling, which is to provide high-quality, compassionate care to our patients.

They have acted as loved ones for patients, offering a comforting hand. They put themselves at risk because healthcare workers have an incredible drive to care for those who need them most.

We did all of this while anxiously waiting for a vaccine to be developed, which gives us hope for a brighter year ahead. I am also proud to say that we have already begun our team member vaccination efforts, with a large majority of our team members already volunteering to receive their vaccine. Our infectious disease efforts have studied the data and we have full confidence in the science behind these vaccines.

As we close the book on 2020, I invite community members to reflect on the past year and to be proud of our healthcare workers. I know I am.

Ronnie Sloan, FACHE is president of The Outer Banks Hospital.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

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