Abby Grisham and Shallina Goodnight worked the check-in table at a recent vaccination clinic.
For the hundreds of CoxHealth staff members who have volunteered at our community vaccination events, the experience has been an uplifting example of being the best for those who need us.
We asked a few staff members to tell us what it meant to them to participate in these historic events – below is the first in a series of Vaccine Clinic Voices.:
For Shallina Goodnight and Abby Grisham, who worked the check-in table at a recent clinic, the events felt like a turning point in our fight with COVID-19.
Shallina Goodnight - 'An overwhelming sense of relief'
“There was an overwhelming sense of relief and anticipation. There is hope that people can come back together, and the first thing for so many people is seeing the people they love.”
Shallina remembers a grandmother who told her she was looking forward to visiting her family in Chicago. She had young grandchildren she hadn’t seen in a year.
“She had her tickets booked and she told me she was going to hug them and not let go.
“If there is a silver lining, it is that the pandemic has helped people clear away the clutter in their lives and focus on what matters – each other,” Shallina says. “It’s refreshing to see that what people want first is to reconnect with the people who are important to them.”
Prior to the clinic, the last time Shallina was in the Meyer Center was when CoxHealth’s School Care Program launched last fall. She remembers seeing kids and families arriving, with fear and uncertainty in their eyes.
“I was so glad CoxHealth could do the School Care Program. As a mom, I felt for the experience they were having,” she says. “It was a bizarre and scary time.
“Now, this is like coming full circle. There is a big sense of CoxHealth working to keep the community safe. People are overwhelmingly grateful for CoxHealth.
“We have been in a holding pattern for so long. It is nice to see people beginning to be hopeful and excited for the future.”
Abby Grisham - 'It is powerful to see people pitching in for our community'
“This was such an upbeat and positive experience. I have never been around so many happy and joyous people.
“Everyone is so excited to get back to their loved ones. There were so many older ladies who just wanted to see their grandkids. They showed us their pictures on their phones. They were so excited, it gave me chills!”
Abby says working the vaccination clinic was especially moving after what she has seen as a caregiver.
“Last summer, I worked on the COVID floor. I have seen a lot of people pass away. Now, I get to see the positive side of things. It is powerful to see how many people are pitching in for our community. It is wonderful and I am so lucky to have been a part of it.”
Abby says last summer was one of the most stressful times in her life. In addition to her roles as a nursing assistant and a scribe, she is currently in college.
Her time on the COVID unit made her more confident than ever about her career choice.
“When I started on the COVID floor, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I saw the PAs on the floor working closely with physicians,” she says.
She worked alongside Physician Assistant Greta Melton, who served as an inspiration.
“Seeing her interacting with those patients, she was so compassionate. It really helped me decide that I want to go to PA school.
“I love being an employee at CoxHealth. We have amazing leadership and our employees are so positive. Its so awesome. CoxHealth is such a family. I am so lucky to be a part of that experience."