Working through the pandemic: Frontline workers open up

NELIGH, Neb. - The pandemic has taken a toll on healthcare workers in Neligh, but employees are finding a way to keep going.

"When we were back in the thick of things you're constantly trying to take in new information, figure out how best to handle these patients and what's going to be the best treatment," said Dr. Kelli Osborn, with Antelope Memorial Hospital.

Distancing and restrictions caused issues for the workers themselves.

"[We're] a very tight-knit family here at Antelope Memorial," said Megan Becklun, Human Resources Director. "So I think with COVID coming in and really shutting down those departments to where they couldn't interact with each other, really put a damper on that."

Now the close community is coming back together. 

"It's like old relationships," said Becklun. "They're picking up right where they left off." 

 Becklun said the employee counseling program played a huge role in the mental health of the workers.

"We've had great responses from our employees," said Becklun. "Feedback saying how great it helped them as well as their families."

Many healthcare workers are facing burnout across the nation. A recent poll from the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, found roughly three out of ten health care workers considered leaving their profession.

The rural community in Antelope was able to keep all of its staff on during the pandemic.

Becklun said it is all because of the bond they share.

"We're kind of like a little family here," said Becklun. "So it's nice to be able to get back together and really collaborate and see those relationships grow." 

The hospital is now taking on a huge project to re-do its entire nursing floor, an idea inspired by the peak of the pandemic.

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