COVID-19 has seen all of us taking on new roles and tasks to meet the demands of the pandemic. I recently had the unique experience of pausing my “usual” work on the WSHA Safety & Quality team to utilize my RN license and administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
Late last week, Swedish reached out to WSHA with the news that they were organizing a vaccination clinic for individuals in Phase 1a who aren’t associated with a large health system. They connected with WSHA SVP of Safety & Quality Darcy Jaffe to see if those of us with active RN licenses would be available to volunteer at the clinic.
On Tuesday, WSHA Executive Vice President Taya Briley and I were activated to attend the first day of the clinic, administering the Moderna vaccine. On Wednesday morning, Taya and I were joined by Darcy and Safety & Quality Senior Director Catherine Mazzawy to administer the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine team reported back that they are vaccinating around 1,000 Phase 1a people each clinic. We are all scheduled to volunteer for additional vaccinator shifts over the next several weeks.
I was honored to meet Phase 1a eligible individuals eager to be vaccinated. They shared tears of joy, displayed patience even as they waited outside in the rain, and took photos and videos to share and encourage peers to get vaccinated. The sense of gratitude and hope was palpable. I was also impressed by the sense of vaccine stewardship displayed by the Swedish clinical leadership. They were resourceful with preparing vaccine administration and did frequent counts of those still needing allocation. It was an amazing demonstration of the care and process to ensure there would be no vaccine wastage.
It was an absolute honor to volunteer as a COVID-19 vaccinator. In my 25+ years as a registered nurse, there have been many instances where nursing has been challenging and even heart-breaking. But for every challenge, there are so many experiences that remind me of how grateful I am for my chosen career. Throughout this pandemic, I have witnessed an amazing demonstration of strength, integrity, collaboration and community across Washington. It has been a long journey for our clinical colleagues in the health care system, yet they continue to deliver outstanding care to their communities. Seeing the hospital clinical team facilitate a vaccination effort at this volume and level and getting to be part of the vaccination effort on the ground has been truly inspiring. I am grateful to be involved and proud to be nurse.