Why Being a Frontline Worker Has Been So Rewarding

I know that this has been a crazy time for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our classes translated to online, people have lost their jobs and a steady income, loved ones have been affected from this virus, and I’m sure you have struggled mentally or emotionally during all of this. Well, know you are not alone in these struggles and that everyone is finding it difficult to adjust to these changes in our society.

As you may or may not know, I work at a nursing home here in my hometown of York, PA in the dining department. I was originally part-time, but since being home from college for online schooling, I have picked up full-time hours to get out of the house and help my residents. I feel extremely grateful that I still have this job to bring in money and also to get out of my four walls at home. I typically work eight hour shifts four to five days a week. Helping my residents has been one of the most rewarding parts of this whole time period and keeps me going. Yes, they are protecting us at work and thankfully, we have had no cases of the virus, unlike other campuses around the state. old woman with glasses smiling Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

When I get worn down and exhausted from being on my feet all day at work and doing what feels like endless college assignments, I remember why I am doing my job. I put things into perspective and I see how much my residents appreciate our service to them. I see their struggle and how lonely they feel in their rooms. It breaks my heart, but I think to myself, do what you can to bring any amount of interaction and light into their day to lift their spirits. I make sure to remember little things they like with their meals or their favorite foods to make sure their day goes well. For example, one of my favorite residents loves a hot decaf coffee on her tray with one half and half creamer. When I bring it to her, she is so thankful for someone remembering the little things she likes. One of my other favorites always loves seeing my face when I deliver her meal and she gives me fist bumps. One of my male residents talks to me whenever I go to his room and he loves jokes! I told him one yesterday and wrote him one on his menu for today when I am off work. I think it is the small actions that add up to large impacts. It is the everyday interactions and smiles that add up to making a difference in their lives during the uncertainty of these times.

person comforting old man Matthias Zomer

It makes me so sad to hear how they hate being confined to their rooms for most of the day, but I try to assure them it is for their safety and we are just watching out for them. I tell them it will soon all be over and that things will eventually return to normalcy. They cannot see their family members and loved ones or even other residents who are good friends. They can call them, but of course, it is not the same as being with them in person. It blesses my day when they ask how I am genuinely doing throughout all of this, which shows me how much they care about us staff members and how appreciative they are. 

Looking at the big picture, all of us working at my nursing home are making a positive difference in our residents’ lives and putting their well-being first. When I am stressed at work, I have to remember why I am doing it and how though I only deliver their meals and clear their dirty dishes, that interaction with them many times a day shows them I care. I care about their feelings. I care about their well-being. I care about their worries and concerns. And I just truly care about each of them. They have blessed my life, and I feel it is my duty to bless theirs in return with kindness and care. That’s what God wants us to do, spread love to others, and so I will do that with a humble heart.  tray of food on a counter Photo by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on Unsplash

If you are working during COVID-19, especially if you are a frontline worker, thank you sincerely for what you are doing to help others. You are putting their well-being above your own, and that shows sacrifice. Keep staying strong and know we are in this together, and we will come out the other end stronger as a community. Hopefully this all ends soon, and we can enjoy summer as it approaches quickly!

side view of old man's face Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

HCXO, Rachel