Behind the scenes in a COVID-19 vaccine clinic
Since April Leon was 14 years old, being a nurse and caring for those most in need has been her passion. In fact, her drive for teaching and nursing blossomed into her dream job as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist, supporting Advocate Aurora Health’s northernmost area in Wisconsin.
And it’s one of the reasons she was nominated for Advocate Aurora Health’s Green Bay, Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccination clinic’s site operational lead, where she and a coworker were responsible for coordinating and organizing the clinic that would soon vaccinate team members and community members.
“We really started from the ground up, getting the vaccine clinic up and running for our team members, and now the community,” says Leon. “We wanted to make sure that the clinic was successful, so all along the way, I’ve been working closely with clinic leaders and hospital leaders.”
Though she has had to take a break from her role as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist – which includes leading the Northern Wisconsin Clinical Nurse Mentorship program, facilitating the graduate nurse residency program, and much more — she considers herself to be fortunate to be part of something so essential.
“It’s so awesome coming to work and knowing there is going to be so much thrown at us, but we’re changing lives, and we’re affecting so many people,” Leon says. “I’m very fortunate to be part of this clinic, but I also see how thankful our volunteers and our vaccine recipients are. There are lots of ‘thank you’s’ on both sides going on around here.”
For this mother of two young children and full-time health care worker, gratefulness and acceptance are what keep her going.
“There’s constant change around here, but we have to adapt so we can start making some change and get back to our lives, our new lives,” Leon expresses. “I didn’t get the vaccine just for me; I got it for my neighbor, for the elderly, for the sick, for unity. We work long hours, all sorts of hours, but at the end of the day, we’re here to service our fellow neighbors in our community, and I’m just so happy to be here helping.”
Eventually, everyone will have access to the vaccine, and Leon encourages people to get theirs.
“Please think about your neighbor, your grandparents, your parents, those who have illnesses, those populations at high risk. I know I’m going to do whatever I can to protect them, and if that means getting a vaccination that’s been proven and has science behind it, then I’m going to do it. Do your research and have some understanding of herd immunity, because that’s what is going to get us out of this pandemic.”
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