MAKING MEALS: Senior Jane Theisen prepares meals for patients while working as a food service aid. (Lindsey Good)
MAKING MEALS: Senior Jane Theisen prepares meals for patients while working as a food service aid.

Lindsey Good

DGN students step up within healthcare jobs

March 7, 2021

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, frontline workers have continued to go to work and risk their own lives for the wellbeing of others. Frontline workers have inspired numerous individuals to take upon roles within the healthcare industry to also make an impact, including DGN students who have taken on an important role.

Senior Jane Theisen works as a food service aid at Good Samaritan Hospital, where she organizes meal plans for patients along with maintaining proper COVID-19 guidelines. 

“While at work, I wear a mask and goggles when entering patient rooms as well as sanitizing before and after interacting with patients. I make sure to avoid touching my face and wash my hands thoroughly when returning home,” Theisen said.

UTMOST CLEANLINESS: Senior Lindsey Good practices proper COVID-19 guidelines while working as a food service aid.

Theisen believes her job gives a proper introduction to continuing her education in a healthcare-related field.

“I plan on going into nursing and this job has solidified that for me,” Theisen said, “I love trying to make patients’ days easier and more enjoyable in any way that I can because visitors are limited so they often aren’t able to see their loved ones.”

Senior Lindsey Good began working at Good Samaritan Hospital in Oct. 2020 as a food service aid, where the training for her position began entirely online.

“Everything from my interview to orientation was through a computer,” Good said, “Training has also been interesting because, with the amount of COVID cases changing every day, something you learned to do could be irrelevant in a week.”

Senior Tressa Rapach recently began working as a culinary host at Aspired Living after being inspired by the frontline workers’ sacrifices within the pandemic. 

“I will be a part-time server, which means I will prepare dinners and deliver them to residents in their selected rooms,” Rapach said, “I’ve worked at Giordano’s for over a year and I’ve dealt with that service type job. But now I’m excited to put forth a different part of myself within this industry and area of work.”

Rapach plans to continue her education in nursing to give back to the community, much like the healthcare workers during the pandemic.

“I’ve had my heart set on nursing for over a year now and so it was before [the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic]. It was at the peak of it and we were sharing our gratitude for the people on the frontlines, and I just realized that what they’re doing and what they’re sacrificing for is just so wonderful,” Rapach said, “It’s definitely instilled more of a passion to help people after I’ve seen the sacrifices that all these nurses and doctors have made.”

It’s definitely instilled more of a passion to help people after I’ve seen the sacrifices that all these nurses and doctors have made.

— Tressa Rapach

Along with Rapach, senior Victoria Sanchez works as a culinary host at Aspired Living of Westmont, where she believes that her role plays a big part within the nursing home, especially within the resident’s mental health.

“It could be putting salads together or desserts, or any other type of prep work which is a lot more than you think. With COVID-19, everything has to be individualized. [Meals] have to be wrapped and boxed to ensure the utmost safety of the residents,” Sanchez said, “[Culinary hosts] help a lot in how we can make the resident’s day go faster and give them something to look forward to.”

Due to strict COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, senior living residents have lacked social interaction with the outside world. Sanchez tries to bring positivity to the residents whenever she delivers meals.

VACCINATED: Senior Victoria Sanchez received the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 9.

“When I do talk to them and spark that conversation, they do say that they miss it, which I feel for them since I still get to see my family and friends. Since they are at such high risk, they simply just can’t,” Sanchez said, “They try to put on a brave face because that’s who they are, but you truly know that inside, they really miss people. Every day when I ask about their day, they respond with ‘boring’ because they can’t do everything and they live the same day over-and-over again. I want to help them, but I can’t provide what they truly need.”

Sanchez received the COVID-19 vaccination along with other residents and co-workers, where the celebration gave residents a source of happiness within the pandemic.

“There were snacks, balloons, streamers, music playing, a picture wall. Every time someone got their shot, [employees] would ring cowbells to celebrate. It definitely brought up the mood,” Sanchez said, “You could tell that the residents really needed that because it’s been so long since the residents have had such light in their life.”

Junior Julia Albert volunteers at Edward Hospital within the pathology lab, where she files slides in a certain order to improve efficiency within the lab.

“Filing slides puts a lot less stress on the doctors themselves, especially because those slides take a large amount of time to file,” Albert said, “That time would’ve been taken out of the pathologist’s day for working on important cases to complete that.”

Albert needed to take extra precautions in order to become a volunteer, but she believes it was worth it for the experience she’s receiving.

“Even before I was accepted into the volunteer program, I had to get some specific shots to make sure I don’t have any contagious diseases because that wouldn’t be very good for the slides and the lab,” Albert said, “It’s a really interesting that I get to do this because people wouldn’t think [pathology volunteer] would be an actual position.”

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