Snohomish County Medical Reserve Corps
I have played many roles as an RN with the Medical Reserve Corp during the past 2 years and appreciated every one of them as each one gave me a different perspective into how this pandemic affects different people in different ways.
I joined the MRC in 2014, prior to my retirement. I had worked in the medical world for over 35 years, mostly in pediatric and mother-baby settings and was looking forward to “expanding my medical knowledge” in other areas. Our activities - pre-pandemic - were focused on community outreach, health fairs, homeless care fairs, and health awareness and education. Once the pandemic started, we hit the ground running.
My main focus became working at the mass drive-through testing sites. During those earlier days we saw many very sick people, some driving themselves. Occasionally we had people who were confused, couldn’t follow directions, ran into traffic cones or even ran into the sides of the testing tent, they were so ill. Weather was often very bad, cold conditions, raining, winds taking the sides of the tents away or smaller tents being blown across the parking lots.
Our initial weeks turned into months and we soon realized that we would need to go from testing sites to mass vaccine sites.
Opening the mass vaccine sites was exciting, knowing we were hopefully going to be able to get the pandemic under control, get people vaccinated, and return to our previous ways of life. Little did we know that our few months of vaccinating would turn into our second year, doing mostly boosters but occasionally giving initial doses. I have worked at sites that have vaccinated only two people to our larger max vaccine sites that vaccinated 6,000 people a day.
Seeing people from all over our community come together to work side by side and accomplish a common goal was an amazing and impressive thing to see. Our process continually evolves to find more efficient, better, patient-friendly ways of giving these life-saving vaccines. I felt privileged to be a part of this huge effort to keep our community safe. I also have worked many mobile vax sites, taking the vaccine to those people who want it but can’t access the larger sites. The senior and assisted living facilities are some of my favorite as you are greeted with appreciation and happiness throughout the facility. With our older citizens being at very high risk of extreme illness and death, they happily line up in wheelchairs and walkers, sleeves rolled up, very grateful to receive medicine that could save their lives.
My strongest memory was working at a vaccine site at Edmonds Community College in the earlier days of vaccinations. People would come through the driving lines, so happy to have gotten an appointment, and often would break down in tears upon receiving the vaccine. We cried along with them, knowing we had been a very small part of this experience.