COVID-19 has impacted all who work in a hospital or hospital ran setting


Ashley Boak

Edwards hospital has a health center in Woodridge. This is where I teach swim lessons at.

While many high schoolers are worrying about their summer jobs, I am still being asked to work at the main hospital for mine. While many high schoolers are arguing with their siblings because they are bored out of their minds, I am worried about my sibling working as a nurse in a hospital in Wisconsin. COVID-19 has brought many unknowns into the world, but it has brought even more unknowns to those who work at hospitals.

I have been employed as a swim instructor at Edwards-Elmhurst health and fitness center in Woodridge for about six months now. The health center is open in conjunction with Edwards hospital in Naperville. Never in my entire time working there would I have imagined having to deal with something such as COVID-19.

I have always worked with younger children for their swim lessons. I am working physically hands-on with three through five year olds, teaching them the proper technique of basic swimming skills. A key part of working with these younger children in a pool is holding them, that is until my manager told us we need to limit all physical contact.

On March 13. one day before our winter session of swim lessons was over, all aquatic employees were sent an email stating what the hospital’s guidelines were for us going into our last day of lessons. It stated that they wanted us to be making as limited physical contact with the children as possible, additional chlorine was going to be added to the water to help disinfect everything, and also that verbal cueing was going to be the main form of instruction.

Given the level and age of the swimmers I work with, I was physically unable to follow some of these guidelines.

The children in my level have always learned best when I am alongside them, helping them get into their back float position or going underwater with them to grab the ring. The last day of swim lessons for the winter session was definitely the hardest day I have ever had working in that setting. It broke my heart to not be able to help my kids to the best of my ability due to the hospital guidelines.

We were supposed to start our spring session on April 6. but given the stay at home order that was extended to April 30. Who knows if we will even get a spring session of swimming lessons with our little kids. While the health center is physically closed, Edwards hospital is doing everything they can to still allow us to be receiving paychecks.

Edwards hospital introduced a labor pool for their employees on March 16. that was an opportunity for staff to be helping out at the main hospital in Naperville.

The tasks in the labor pool were some such as handing out masks at the entrances, housekeeping and patient and visitor health screenings. This labor pool is just another way that the hospital is keeping their employees paid while continuing the safety of their patients.

While I have been called to be a part of the labor pool, I was unable to partake due to being in classes at the time they needed help. I hopefully will be able to help again in the future and make a difference at the hospital.

I am not the only person in my family who works in a hospital run facility. My sister is a CNA, which stands for Certified Nursing Assistant, in Wisconsin. I never thought that I would be worried about my sisters’ health each time she went into her work setting.

My sister is going to be attending nursing school in the fall, and never did she think that she would be experiencing something as crazy as this while working in a hospital. She has to be screened each day when she walks into work to make sure she doesn’t have any symptoms of COVID-19, and wear a mask while working her entire shift all while making sure that she keeps herself along with her patients safe.

Thankfully, my sister told me that there have only been one positive case in her hospital. While that number can change at any time, I am thankful that she lives and works in what is primarily a college town. The hospital is only minutes away from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, a college campus that has been evacuated for the rest of the semester due to COVID-19.

With the evacuation of the college, there aren’t that many people in the physical town, leaving my sister with less patients to work with. While this may seem bad for the hospital, I am personally thankful that my sister isn’t at as high of a risk as other nurses are.

While I am thankful to still be employed at the current time in a labor pool, I am extremely sad that I am not working with my little kids to teach them swimming lessons. While I am thankful that my sister is working as a CNA in a hospital, I am extremely worried that she will come in contact with COVID-19. Do your part and stay inside to keep those who are still working safe.