GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Karen Cole’s job as operations manager of environmental services for Memorial Hospital is hard enough, but that job during a pandemic has another level of pressure.
“At first, I didn’t really think about it as being pressure, until I started to work in it,” said Cole “And then, when you go in and you see what you have to do, then you know. There’s a lot of pressure.”
And then, there is constant training and supervision.
“You have to follow up and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do,” said Cole. “And you have to make sure they have the stuff they need to work with to do their job.”
Cole has been fighting to protect patients and staff from COVID-19 since she started working at Memorial 10 months ago. She is part of a group of front-line health care workers that perform behind the scenes. But that work is no less essential. And to her, this is not just a job.
“I knew we had to take a chance. We had to do it. We had to do it for the patients,” Cole said. “It’s very important. Because people’s lives matter.”
And just like any front-line health care worker, she’s seen the worst COVID-19 can bring to those afflicted.
“It hurts,” said Cole. “It will make you cry to seem them like that suffering and going through what they’re going through,” she said. “And then, when you see them losing their lives, it really matters. It does something to you.”
Her responsibilities are to the entire hospital, but there’s a special place in her heart for the patients and those who care for them.
“I think I work around some great people, especially the ones in the COVID area,” Cole said. “They are really wonderful, caring, kind people. And they work very hard. They go the extra mile. They give 150 percent. And they do their jobs very well.”