We are checking in with some of our colleagues who submitted photos for our Heroes Work Here campaign in the spring. We wanted to share their perspectives on how COVID-19 is shaping life at CoxHealth. Be watching for more of their stories here on Coxhealth.com
'I was willing to do anything I needed to do'
Cheryl Nold, 500 West
When CoxHealth first asked for volunteers to staff a COVID-19 unit in March, Cheryl Nold stepped up. She has been an aide on 500 West since then.
“I told them I was willing to do anything I needed to do,” she says. “I have always been someone who sees a job that needs to get done and I just do it.”
That’s a bold stance, and it’s what you would expect from someone who works the front lines of health care.
Here’s the thing, though, Nold just began her health care career in January 2020. She had taught preschool for 10 years before retraining as a nursing assistant.
“In January, I was so excited, I was like ‘Yeah! Lets go!’ When the pandemic hit and schools closed, I did wonder, ‘What have I done?’ she says with a laugh. “I didn’t realize my first bit of health care would be during a pandemic. I am still here and I love it every day!”
On 500 West, she spends her shifts working with COVID-19 patients.
“It is hard on them. We are the only people they see. They see masks and face shields, and just my eyes. I try to make sure I spend extra time being personal with them: talking to them, holding their hand, coloring in a coloring book or playing cards.”
There are days when it is emotionally and mentally exhausting.
“You roll with the punches. You learn and you grow. The unit has gotten a lot closer together as part of this pandemic. When you go through something like this, you learn to adapt and work well together, because you have to. We are willing to do whatever it takes to support each other.”
Nold says the experience is a chance to live out her dream of serving others. A dream that began when she interacted with nurses years ago when she had her first child.
She was a young mom and she still remembers how her Labor and Delivery nurses helped her and guided her through exactly what she needed to do.
“I felt loved by them. I always wanted to be that kind of person to someone else and make a difference in their lives.”
“Now, just knowing there are patients who need me – they need my care, my heart, my compassion – that brings me back,” she says. “I know I have made a difference in the lives of the patients I have been with. I come back the next day reenergized and ready to do what I need to do.”
Is she still glad she made the move to health care?
“100 percent – I know if I can make it through a pandemic, I can make it through anything.”