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Honoring   Healthcare  Heroes

Grantham Grads on the Frontlines

For the past several months, most of us have stayed home and done our best to continue living normal lives. But some have not had that same option or luxury. Essential workers have continued reporting for work, putting themselves and even their families at risk to serve everyone else. In recognizing these frontline heroes, we want to shine the spotlight on our nurses, medical technicians, administrative staff and all other healthcare professionals. Hear from our featured College of Nursing and Health Professions alumni and students as they describe their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, how their Grantham education has come into play, and tips for staying safe.
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Shantyl Galloway

Shantyl Galloway, Army public health nurse and 2019 Grantham MSN graduate, is part of a team responsible for containment and contact tracing on the Fort Knox, Kentucky Army base. In an effort to isolate those who are sick and slow the spread of the virus, Galloway makes daily phone calls to collect the names and phone numbers of positive and suspected-positive cases on the base. Even as communities begin to reopen, Galloway urges the public to continue being cautious to avoid further outbreaks.

Herschel Holden

Herschel Holden is an operating room nurse coordinator at his local Huntsville, Alabama hospital. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s become much more than that. In addition to making sure other nurses know how to properly use their personal protective equipment, Holden is using his master’s in nursing informatics from Grantham to collect and maintain data about the hospital’s COVID-19 patients. As the OR prepares to reopen to all patients, Holden encourages both healthcare workers and the public to go back to the basics—wash your hands frequently, wear your protective gear and continue practicing social distancing.
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To my healthcare colleagues: Despite the challenges of this pandemic, let us continue to stand strong together as a team so we can keep fighting to bring illness into wellness.
Marilyn Simbol, MSN // Clinical Admission Nurse
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Mollie Covington

Working as a nurse in a COVID-19 ICU, Mollie Covington wished for an end to this pandemic and to be able to return to her normal nursing career. But when her own mother passed from COVID-19, Covington suddenly went from licensed healthcare provider to grieving family member. After personally experiencing how devastating the effects of COVID-19 can be, Covington emphasizes the need for a vaccine. Together, she says, we’ll keep learning and figure out how to beat this disease.

Jane Neri

Faculty member Jane Neri took a break from her job as a graduate instructor at Grantham to do her due diligence in the fight against COVID-19. Currently working as the executive director of cardiology, cardiovascular and perioperative services at a medical center in Los Angeles, Neri has a new appreciation for teamwork and the joint effort it takes to treat sick patients. Above all, Neri wants the public to know this: It is safe to come to the hospital. If you need medical care, it’s available in a sanitary, secure environment.
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As healthcare workers, we are people. We have families. We have emotions, and we’re scared, too. But we can’t afford to hide, because we’re the first line of defense that the community has. We’re here to support and protect you.
Eli Nieves, BSN // Registered Nurse
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Eli Nieves

Eli Nieves is a registered nurse currently working for the Veteran’s Administration hospital. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disturbances in the hospital’s operations, but more troublesome to Nieves is the low morale among his fellow nurses and healthcare workers. Nieves is using his Grantham BSN education, which taught him nursing leadership skills, to encourage co-workers who are feeling worn out, tired or fed up. By keeping spirits high, Nieves is helping his team deliver quality, efficient care to our nation’s heroes.

Katherine Lebrecht

Katherine Lebrecht is a registered nurse, military veteran and current BSN student at Grantham. Lebrecht typically works in a small, specialized unit for elderly patients suffering from diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s. But since the coronavirus crisis, she’s part of what’s referred to as a “float pool,” which means one day she could be in the detox unit and another in the ICU. Among all the uncertainty and tragedy, Lebrecht sees the positives of this pandemic, too: Families are growing closer than ever. Don’t lose that, she advises, and don’t lose hope.
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Marilyn Simbol

As a healthcare professional in a state with one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases, clinical admission nurse Marilyn Simbol is experiencing significant and rapid change in the way she’s able to care for patients. For Simbol, the most challenging part of this pandemic is not taking on new responsibilities at the hospital, however. It’s the fear of contracting the virus and bringing it home to her family. Simbol stresses the importance of maintaining social connections while physically distancing and feels hopeful for brighter days ahead.