Sandra Lindsay, RN, realizes she is not a widely known celeb, popular culture icon, or civil rights champion like others on the record who acquired the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the present day. She says that is what makes the respect even sweeter as a New York nurse who was the primary American to obtain a COVID vaccine outdoors of a scientific trial. She continues to advocate for vaccination, in addition to psychological well being companies for healthcare employees.
“My fast thought was how vital that is for not solely me and my household, however girls, girls of coloration, immigrants, Jamaicans, and healthcare employees,” Lindsay instructed Medscape Medical Information about receiving the award. “Personally, I really feel it’s a nice second for the entire teams I determine with.”
Initially from Jamaica, the 53-year-old crucial care nurse is director of affected person care companies at Northwell Well being’s Lengthy Island Jewish Medical Heart in New York Metropolis. On December 14, 2020, she volunteered to obtain the shot and have become the primary individual within the nation to obtain the novel COVID vaccine. Greater than 200 million persons are fully vaccinated in the present day, in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s newest stories.
New York Metropolis nurse Sandra Lindsay. “I needed to do my half,” stated the crucial care nurse and director of affected person care companies at Northwell Well being’s Lengthy Island Jewish Medical Heart. “I needed to really feel secure.”
Lindsay joins 16 different Individuals named by President Joe Biden as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, “the nation’s highest civilian honor introduced to people who’ve made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or safety of america, world peace, or different vital societal, public or non-public endeavors,” in accordance with a White Home press launch.
The record contains such public figures as actor Denzel Washington, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, former senator John McCain, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Hope Amid the Therapeutic
A nurse for greater than 27 years, Lindsay believes she acquired for the award based mostly on her contribution in the course of the healthcare disaster. “I volunteered to be vaccinated at a time when a variety of of us, a variety of Black of us, have been skeptical about being vaccinated. There was a variety of misinformation,” she stated.
She explains that after witnessing the trauma of the pandemic firsthand and its impression on medical professionals, “I needed to do my half. I needed to really feel secure.”
Lindsay says she by no means second-guessed her choice to be the primary in line for vaccination. “I did analysis and skim research about individuals who had been examined and the outcomes. I weighed out the professionals and cons.”
For her, the concern of contracting COVID was stronger than any misgivings she would possibly entertain about receiving the vaccine. “That day I noticed hope; I noticed therapeutic. I noticed the flip in the best way issues have been going; much less deaths.” With vaccination, she visualized COVID enhancing.
“I am happy with the vaccination charge in New York. I am happy and glad persons are getting again to some semblance of normalcy…We nonetheless see instances, though to not the extent” as earlier than vaccinations started, she says.
In her present position, Lindsay onboards crucial care employees, ensures her workers has correct PPE and that beds can be found, amongst different duties. She concedes, “there are nonetheless many unknowns” in regards to the virus, however tens of millions have acquired vaccines “with minimal opposed results.” For many who nonetheless have questions in regards to the vaccine, she responds: “It is OK to have questions.” Nevertheless it’s riskier to not be vaccinated.
Receiving the award, she says, spotlights the position nurses and medical professionals performed over the previous 3 years “saving lives, getting the nation again on its ft…their selflessness, their true dedication, their great contributions to get the place we at the moment are.”
At the moment Lindsay advocates for vaccination together with psychological well being for healthcare employees. “We helped heal the nation when the nation wanted therapeutic. We have seen a variety of progress. Now it’s time for nurses to get what they want, as properly.”
She says she hopes psychological well being might be prioritized nationwide “with out being judgmental, so individuals get the companies they want, so there isn’t any inequity in with the ability to present companies.”
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