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LETTERS

Pandemic affected work lives in many ways

Respiratory therapist Angelika MacClellan, left, talks with nurse Natasha Cacciatore through a door in the Special Pathogens Unit ICU at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in this April 27, 2020, file photo. The hospital converted the cardiovascular center into a COVID-19 intensive care unit.
Respiratory therapist Angelika MacClellan, left, talks with nurse Natasha Cacciatore through a door in the Special Pathogens Unit ICU at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in this April 27, 2020, file photo. The hospital converted the cardiovascular center into a COVID-19 intensive care unit.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Ever at the forefront of care, nurses weathered host of challenges

As a registered nurse in Boston, I can say that the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything we have ever done. Trying to fight a pandemic and watching colleagues be moved around to areas they were scared to go to, and sometimes got sick from, was very hard. The burden on nursing to help conserve personal protective equipment was increased tenfold.

The pandemic did not stop sick patients from coming and needing care, with us as their only lifeline and no visitors. Nurses could not “work from home,” but we got through it together.

Visitors are slowly being allowed again, and other departments are reclaiming the jobs that nurses had been compelled to perform. However, the damage to nursing has been done, and it would be nice to see us be able to get to a place of congeniality in the workplace again, rebuild bridges with other disciplines, show our full faces, share a meal with colleagues, be seen as valuable, all be vaccinated, and start welcoming more nursing students back again, whose clinical experience had been curtailed.

I’d like to see lessons from this episode in history be used to the betterment of “next time,” because there will be a next time, and nurses will still be there at the forefront, but hopefully less battle weary.

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Michele Hassler

Arlington


He took an unexpected turn in the road

Until March 2020, I was busily driving for Lyft in Greater Boston. The danger of sharing the limited breathing space of my car with strangers, along with a vastly reduced number of potential riders with the city closing down, forced me to hit the pause button on that otherwise ideal job. Unemployment assistance has been a great help. And thanks to an e-mail from Mass Hire, I’ll be starting as a substitute teacher in the Silver Lake school system on Sept. 1. Who could have known that, at the age of 74, the coronavirus pandemic would open the door to a new career.

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David A. Woods

Halifax


She answered call for virtual etiquette advice

My business as an etiquette consultant is built on teaching interpersonal skills in person. Last spring, my entire calendar of booked programs and seminars was postponed, then canceled. But as the weeks ticked by, requests began to trickle in for interpersonal skills taught virtually. I was able to convert all of my networking and professional protocol programs, with the exception of one on gracious dining, to video trainings. And my repertoire expanded to include the dos and don’ts of video interviews and meetings.

I so miss working with people in real life and look forward to being in the same room as my students someday soon. But even once the pandemic is safely over, my virtual trainings will remain as an expanded option. This past year forced me to think about my business in different ways and required me to adapt.

Jodi R. R. Smith

Marblehead