Submitted by: Kellie Melo, SRT

Shortly after Ontario declared a state of emergency, I received a call from St. Michael’s Hospital for a position as an OR Respiratory Technician Assistant that I had applied for earlier. I was super excited to start this new journey, but at the same time a bit hesitant because of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of perhaps bringing something home with me to my loved ones. However, with the support of friends, family, and colleagues and an amazing team of caring and dedicated professionals cooperating to keep workers safe, I have been working for 3 months at the time of writing this, and I couldn’t be happier. Every day I see brave healthcare workers putting their health at risk to help those in need. I have seen the battle wounds of wearing N95 masks for hours, the preoccupation with having the most updated PPE, and the weary faces of those who have worked countless shifts. Despite staff being tired, I have not once heard any of them complain.  As a matter of fact, their spirit and mindset is inspiring!  Every day the staff arrive to work with a smile on their face, and once the mask is on, a smile on a sticky note or a picture of them is taped to their chest that reflects that same great smile.

The one thing that will forever stay with me that makes me proud to work at St. Michael’s but also to one day be a part of the profession, happened on my second day of work. As I was getting ready for my shift, a group of RTs were making plans to temporarily move into a co-worker’s apartment near the hospital and stay there throughout the pandemic.  They all decided to move in together to protect their loved ones at home, but also to be close enough to the hospital in case of an emergency or if more RT’s were needed. They selfishly picked up their lives, and moved closer to the hospital in order to be closer to the patients that needed them the most…amazing!

Though the role I play is a small one in comparison to theirs, I am proud to help make their shifts a bit easier by having all the ventilators, oxygen tanks, supplies and gas machines ready for their use.

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