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QCC’s Frontline Workers – Making a Difference in Our Communities

August, 2020
  • QCC nursing student Christine Reid
    QCC nursing student Christine Reid

Nursing Student is A Guardian Among Us

South Grafton resident and Quinsigamond Community College student, Christine Reid knows what it’s like to be on the front lines during the pandemic. As a unit secretary in the maternity ward at Milford Regional Medical Center, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus affected her in ways she could have never anticipated. Yet through it all, she has remained steadfast in her commitment to caring for others in the community.

A nurse education major at QCC who is also a Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society student, Ms. Reid was in the middle of a medical microbiology class when COVID-19 hit the Massachusetts region and the state shutdown.

“To say that this class helped me prepare is an understatement. I’m an older student, so just getting back into the swing of classes, the testing and waitlist for nurse education, it all helped me learn to roll with the punches,” she said. 

Ms. Reid said working as a frontline worker in the hospital during a pandemic was “surreal,” as she quickly learned that everyone was at risk of getting the virus.

“I felt that I was ‘safe’ on the maternity ward because I wasn’t in the COVID/ICU units. I quickly realized that we were just as vulnerable, as I had checked in patients, walked them to their rooms, only to find out hours later that they had tested positive for COVID,” she added. 

Similar to many hospitals and healthcare facilities in the region, the medical center’s PPE supply was also extremely low, especially in the beginning.

“We had to reuse disposable masks for multiple shifts; we were running out of sanitizer, and we even had amazing volunteers who would come in to make PPE gowns for us. Seeing the panic, fear, uncertainty in the eyes of my coworkers, some of the toughest people I know, was sobering. I realized that we were IN this now,” she said.

Not only was Ms. Reid dealing with the virus on a workplace level, she was also dealing with it on another level, having become a foster parent and welcoming a pre-teen to her home two weeks before the mandatory quarantine. Today, her new normal mirrors that of many other frontline workers. Her awareness of her surroundings has increased exponentially, as has her hand washing and safety procedures and protocols.

"I spend part of the beginning of my shift just reading and catching up on the day-to-day changes, not only for me, but for the nurses, doctors, patients and community. When you know better, you do better,” she said, adding that the community rallied around the frontline workers during the most of critical times during the beginning days of the health crisis. “I cried many times over the generosity of complete strangers who were doing what they could to help support us. So the least I could do is show up and do my job.”

While the future remains uncertain, Ms. Reid said she plans to continue on her journey to becoming a nurse.

“The truth is, this is my job. This is what I signed up for, this is what I’m striving to be. I didn’t get into nursing or the hospital field thinking that I would be safe and healthy,” she said, adding, “It’s just what I do, and if I don’t or won’t do it, who will?”

Visit QCC's Nursing program to learn more.

Make sure to read next month’s installment of “QCC’s Frontline Workers – Making a Difference in Our Communities,” and learn more about the students and alumni who protect and guard our communities.

If you know of a QCC frontline worker who should be spotlighted, let us know and email Karen Hutner at khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu.     

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