How has this Michigan hospital worker gotten through the pandemic? She explains here.

Embrace change and lean on your work family. 

That’s how frontline worker Julie Carlton gets through the stress of working through a pandemic in Shiawassee County’s one and only hospital. As a patient care secretary at Memorial Healthcare in Owosso, Michigan, Carlton has seen more than 7,100 people battle COVID-19.

Like many of us, she says the pandemic has affected her life “in every aspect, every day,” both professionally and personally. 

“I have had to adjust everything that I do,” Carlton told The ‘Gander. “I can no longer continue with my long-time routines but have had to create new routines that are detrimental to the safety of my coworkers, patients, and family members. Because we have seen this virus change, we must be diligent daily on how we keep everyone safe.”

Viruses such as the coronavirus are constantly changing. As a result, new variants are almost always expected to develop, according to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention. With the variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, this is no different. 

The Delta variant has been touted as the fastest-spreading version of the coronavirus, causing more people to contract the virus. But three vaccines remain available for Michiganders 12 years old and up, and the vaccines have shown to be successful against the original coronavirus and its mutations. 

Despite the difficulties that have come with working in a hospital during a pandemic, Calton said she has seen positives come from the way the pandemic has affected her work environment. 

“We’ve had the opportunity to teach and learn,” she said. “It’s been ever-changing. Our department is one big close family and we take care of each other. It has brought us extremely close. 

“It’s been very stressful watching the numbers climb, recede and begin to climb again and it takes not only a physical toll but an extreme mental toll also.”

Infection rates have been dramatically reduced since the vaccines were first introduced, with more than 66 percent of eligible Michigan residents receiving at least one dose. COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to anyone 12 and older in Michigan. 

Outside of science, Carlton finds hope in her work family. 

“We pull together and get each other through it,” she said.