Tigerville – Coronavirus, COVID-19, social distancing…These and several other phrases have become commonplace among households in the United States and around the globe as we all fight through the largest pandemic in more than a century.
Government orders, shutdowns, and closures have all but forced us to weather the storm in our homes, limiting our travel to the grocery and the back yard (for the most part). But while we are mostly confined to our living rooms, 100’s of thousands of frontline workers risk their own health and safety to battle this virus head-on. Whether it be stocking grocery store shelves, driving the trucks that deliver the food, or working in the medical field, they’ve been there from the beginning.
Among these risking their health are two of NGU’s sports medicine professionals in Nicole Clinton and James Anderson. Nicole and James are friendly and familiar faces to NGU student-athletes and through a quick Q&A its easy to understand why they hold a special place in Tigerville.
What led you to serve in this capacity?
James: I had the option to furlough and lose benefits or take my chances with providing assistance within the medical facilities within our network. Due to the influx of patients at the hospitals, my job duties were adjusted to helping mitigate the threat of COVID-19 in Greenville, SC.
Nicole: I am not a nurse, doctor, tech, or any of that, but I am a first responder, and I wanted to do my part that would help keep people safe during the pandemic
What specifically have each of your duties been at the specific hospitals you have been working at?
James: I started as a site manager at Greenville Memorial Hospital (GMH). This role was in place to ensure that all medical staff was adhering to the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines. I averaged about 4 patients per shift who were all positive with COVID-19 or presumed to be positive. On some occasions, I helped the attending nurse in their needs to provide care to the patients. The team that I was in charge of managing encompassed emergency room physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and many other health care members. My patient load was in the ER, ICU, and PICU.
I am currently providing healthcare screenings for patients at one of our local orthopedic clinics. My job is to check the temperature of each patient and provide a COVID-19 risk screening for all patients and employees that enter the building.
Nicole: My responsibilities include screening all patients, employees, and vendors that enter Hillcrest Hospital. I also verify all appointments to keep traffic in the hospital down to a minimum.
What has this experience been like for you so far?
James: It has been a humbling and eyeopening experience thus far. Being a Christian, you are always taught to keep the faith and make sure to treat others right. However, this illness does not care who it infects. I have seen families just endure so much tragedy and heartache through this. There have been two deaths that I have a personal connection to, which happened in the span of a week, due to COVID-19. I have seen young and old patients struggle and fight for their life. Even in the midst of all of the sickness, I have gained a few skills and strengthened some areas of appreciation. I take time to appreciate those in my life. I cherish all of my family and church gatherings. I am working on my personal health and my faith with Christ during this quarantine. Even though I have worked in high-risk environments, I am thankful to God that I have a job to go to at this time.
Nicole: It has been a constant balancing act. Being one of the first people that someone seeking medical treatment, you get all of the emotions that they have been holding in. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's angry, and sometimes it's all the energy and frustration that people have been bottling up the last few weeks. No matter what I deal with throughout the day, the people that are grateful for what the entirety of the healthcare industry is trying to do is what keeps flattening the curve, is what keeps me going every day.
What is something that you want every reader to know about the COVID-19 virus in regards to their health and what you have been seeing in the hospitals?
What is something that you want every reader to know about the COVID-19 virus in regards to their own health and what you have been seeing in the hospitals?
James: I want every reader to know that COVID-19 is real. It is trivial to compare it to the common cold or the flu. We should all take precaution because there is a lot of unknowns. Everyone should stay at home and follow the guidelines that have been set forth by scientists, doctors, public officials, and the government. The scariest part of this virus cannot be seen on TV or explained to over another medium of communication. It’s almost an instance where you have to see it in order to believe it. Coming home and immediately washing and sanitizing your clothes is a norm for healthcare workers. The healthcare teams who are caring for the patients have families too, that they are worried about. If you think that you are sick and you have symptoms lasting for more than 24 hours that include a persistent cough, nasal congestion(not related to seasonal allergies), fever, or shortness of breath; you should self isolate and seek medical attention. There is no such thing as being overly precautious during this time.
Any other message you have for those reading!?
James: Be safe and take time to enjoy the smaller things in life. Love on your people, call your family and friends and don’t panic. This pandemic shall pass and we will be stronger on the other side of it.
Nicole: 1- Please trust health care providers. The rules and guidelines that they publish are for very specific reasons; not out of spite. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Your safety is our priority, and being able to go home to our family with the minimal worry of what we could be bringing with is one of our goals.
2 - I've heard many people condemn the prolonged closures, stay at home orders, masks, and social distancing guidelines. I've usually heard them say that they're healthy and even if they do get the virus, it wouldn't be that bad. I just want everyone to consider the people that aren't as healthy as you that you come into contact with. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and children. If nothing else, do whatever you can to keep them safe. The last thing anyone wants is to lose someone close to them, so please do your best to stay safe. If not for yourself, then do it for those you love.