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In Her Own Words: A Public Health Nurse in Action

In Her Own Words: A Public Health Nurse in Action

May 13, 2022

We love to celebrate our nurses, and sometimes it’s best to hear their stories in their own words. Sharon Delaney is a public health nurse at SRHD who joined the immunization team during the pandemic. Here is her inspiring story.

I have been a registered nurse and nurse-midwife for many years. I love my career and feel good when I help others in need. The covid pandemic reminded me that we don't just help patients and their families, although that is at the heart of nursing. As my nursing and medical colleagues became overwhelmed with the sheer number of extremely ill and frightened patients, I felt called to help support them as they lived through the ever-changing pandemic of a new type of coronavirus, we knew very little about. It was a scary time, and there didn't seem to be enough time or nurses to meet the needs of so many.

At first, due to myself being at-risk, I stayed home and made facemasks for hospitals, first responders, Fairchild Air Force personnel, and basically anyone who asked for a facemask. Once vaccines became available in December 2020, I left retirement, got vaccinated, then went to work administering vaccines. People were so incredibly grateful to receive their shots, and I felt like I was finally using my nursing skills to assist in the pandemic response.

I have been at SRHD since February 2021, providing vaccines to Spokane county's underserved at-risk populations, homebound people, and adult family homes. I feel such gratitude when I give covid shots. The overwhelming majority of people are very thankful. Some are afraid and I take time to answer their questions and help them make an informed decision about whether they will get a vaccine. Of the many people who have had questions, I think what they most want is someone to support and respect them as they make the decision about getting vaccinated.

We at SRHD have made a difference in our community, and I work with a terrific team of vaccine experts. I could not be out doing what I do without the support of our immunizations team. Together we are helping educate, inform, and keep Spokane residents safe from serious illness or even death from Covid-19. That feels pretty satisfying to me, and I believe our team feels the same way.

Huge thanks also to all nurses, advanced practice nurses, PAs, physicians, hospital and clinic support staff, and all the other highly skilled professionals who have helped our patients through the pandemic.

Last but not least, I have so much appreciation for Spokane county residents who supported our health care professionals in this difficult, exhausting time. Some of you are family members and friends of caregivers who were there offering help when needed, some made cookies and delivered them to hospitals and clinics. Some cheered us on by helping care for our children, families, pets (even our lawns!) when we had to work overtime to meet the needs of our patients. It truly takes a village, and we acknowledge and appreciate you all.

We love to celebrate our nurses, and sometimes it’s best to hear their stories in their own words. Sharon Delaney is a public health nurse at SRHD who joined the immunization team during the pandemic.