Retired LVHN nurses pitch in to help frontline workers during pandemic

Written by on June 14, 2021

Retired LVHN nurses pitch in to help frontline workers during pandemic

By Brittany Sweeney

June 14, 2021

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

As the pandemic battered healthcare workers on the frontline, a group of retired nurses from Lehigh Valley Health Network jumped in to lend a hand.

Listen to the story.

Anne Panik retired five years ago as LVHN’s chief nursing officer and is now president of the LVHN Retiree Association.

She says right from the start retired nurses wanted to find some way to give back.

“I was getting emails and phone calls, like, ‘what can we do to help? Isn’t there something that we can do as a group to help our colleagues and friends and our patients within the community during this evolving and ever-growing–it seemed at the time–a pandemic.’”

Soon after the pandemic began, she says, the group began pitching in by collecting donations for personal protective equipment and by making masks.

Then in early January, Panik says her group was asked to help administer vaccinations.

“They brought in 40–four-zero–retired RNs who wanted to become the COVID-19 vaccinators and as with everything at LVHN, we certainly had to go through the screening process. And then they gave us a one-day orientation and they talked to us again, about the vaccines, how they work, what are the side effects,” Panik says.

Most of the retired nurses had decades of experience, so they were comfortable giving shots. Learning the computer system was the hardest part for them, she says.

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