An effort underway there is called “Helping Hands”. He is recruiting various people from other parts of the organization and the community at large to volunteer to help in clinical areas during this pandemic wave.
So far there are over 400 volunteers and it is not over yet. Helpers include retirees, students and others.
Jill Forcina is one of them. She is in an administrative / managerial position with NC AHEC, a health education and awareness initiative, but has recently started working in shifts at one of UNC Health’s monoclonal antibody clinics in Chapel Hill.
This is the first time in over a year that she has been doing bedside nursing, but she wanted to help. She was trained as an oncology nurse, so she wasn’t too rusty.
“Nurses are under tremendous pressure so I guess I was going to walk around and talk the talk,” Forcina said.
Forcina is no stranger to this pressure. The 20-year-old healthcare veteran and mother of three works as a healthcare recruiter, but puts the scrubs back on and returns to the front lines.
“I think that’s the raison d’être of nursing, it’s been ramping up over the past year and a half, and I think right now, like you said, it’s serious, and when the nurses are asking for help, they need help, ”she said. noted.
Angela Overman, director of surgical services at UNC hospitals, said this pandemic has made staffing a challenge, with many retiring prematurely and others abandoning the profession altogether.
“There is a very real shortage and we believe the shortage is going to get worse,” she said.
Overman said she hopes this new volunteer program attracts more than former and retired healthcare workers.
“Former health care workers, students, retirees, UNC staff,” Overman said. “Anyone who just wants to save time and help with the pandemic.”
And while the Helping Hands program does not solve the need for more nurses and health professionals, many of those who participate in the program like Forcina are more than just extra hands; they’re part of a bigger team in a fight that’s not quite over yet.
“Everyone in nursing always comes together, and it’s nice to feel accepted as a member of the team,” said Forcina. “This experience showed me why I got into nursing in the first place.”
Interested in volunteering? Find out more here.
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