Palm Coast, FL – Standing outside of the main entrance to AdventHealth Palm Coast on Friday morning, phlebotomists Allyson Curley, Diana Herrada, and Anna Jablonska took a moment away from the needles and band-aids to soak up support from the community.
As members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office paraded past, leading others from the community it was a reminder to tired healthcare professionals that their work is meaningful, and it is appreciated.
“It means a lot and gives me the will to keep going,” said Curley. “It’s been hard, but it’s been an honor to work here.”
Over the months, Curley has seen her share of those who will never leave the hospital, but is encouraged by the larger number who now have a greater chance for recovery.
“It comes with the job. We pray a lot. We try and focus on the people we can help to get better, which is a lot more than the ones that go,” she said. “Now that the vaccine is out, definitely.”
As a leader in her department, Jablonska says camaraderie is strong among the hospital staff.
“It’s wonderful. They are so supportive and so great to the patients and to each other,” she said, while sharing a message for those still on the fence about vaccination.
“You got to get a vaccine. It’s the best thing to protect ourselves and all the loved ones, the elderly, the babies, everyone. Please do get the vaccine.”
Nurse practitioner Renae Vaughn’s voice was strained as considered her words after the drive by parade filled with first responders.
“It just means a lot to have their support. Everybody’s working so hard to take care of patients and so we appreciate that,” said Vaughn.
When asked what the public could do to help make things better, her answer was simple.
“Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. That would be great.”
Masked up even outdoors, Dr. Nevine Hanna, knows healthcare and public safety is a two-way street.
“I appreciate this community support significantly because it shows that people are aware of our hard work, everything that we do for the community, and that we’re here to support them. We would love their support and understanding, as well. Reiterating what Renae said, get vaccinated, wear your mask, protect each other as we’re trying to sit here and spend countless hours, day and night to protect you and make sure that you’re well taken care of,” she said.
As a radiation oncologist for AdventHealth Palm Coast, Hanna didn’t mince words when talking about patient outcomes and the benefits of being vaccinated.
“When you think about getting vaccinated, think about how you’re protecting yourself, and others, right now,” said Hanna. “The people that are getting vaccinated are the ones that are leaving the hospital quicker, if they even get sick with COVID, and their outcomes are significantly better. Get vaccinated. Even if you get sick with COVID, you’ll heal so much faster.”
It’s a time in history when healthcare providers and teams are working across county lines to support one another, and Casey Ryan, a Flagler County Rotarian and member of the home health and hospice team at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach headed over to show her support for front line responders.
“I just absolutely wanted to thank all of the local AdventHealth hospital staff for all that they’re doing for our community,” she said. “We’re all in this together.”
Standing outside of the emergency department, Wally De Aquino, Chief Operating Officer for AdventHealth Palm Coast was among the dozens giving a cheer as Ryan drove by flashing her Halifax Health sunshade and sharing her support.
“Our health care workers have been caring for our community during this pandemic for over 18 months and with this last wave we felt a much greater impact than previously,” he said.
“Today we could see proud and smiling employees “Feeling Whole” with the sheriff’s department showing their appreciation. So many of our community have been intentional in recognizing our healthcare heroes. It’s always amazing to witness the uplifting impact, and today we witness one of those moments again. We thank Sherriff Staly and his entire team,” he said.
Organized in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach, the team effort was sorely needed according to Club President Alicia Vincent.
“We are exceptionally proud of our Flagler County healthcare workers,” she said. “Our front line workers have had an unwavering dedication to care for our community members and this type of event is essential in keeping their morale and spirits up.”
It was an especially meaningful day for members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, who lost one of their own with the passing of Deputy Paul Luciano from COVID complications on August 26, 2021.
“The hospital staff is doing an amazing job and it was our honor to recognize them for caring and working so hard during the pandemic,” said Staly. “We hope it not only lifted them up but all the patients too knowing that we are thinking of them.”