Personal Story - Hospital Staff Touched by Community Support

Few people understand the horrors of the pandemic quite like our nurses. They see the best and the worst of times in health care.

Amanda Thielman (pictured with her family), a nurse in Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Intensive Care Unit (ICU), describes some pretty challenging times. With the help of the community this last year, she also feels reinvigorated in her passion for nursing and helping those in need.

Amanda and her colleagues have struggled with the limitations on family members and visitors in the ICU during the pandemic. “Families watching through a window as their loved one passes away is traumatizing and heartbreaking,” says Amanda. “It’s something that will never escape my mind.”

The Kingston community saw these challenges and generously donated technology to help connect patients with their families. The impacts of this generosity have been incredible. “For patients to be able to use a video call to touch base with their loved ones has been a game-changer,” says Amanda. “It has been amazing. I don’t know if we would’ve survived without that.”

“To see a patient connect with a missed loved one is so incredibly heartwarming and gratifying,” says Dr. Neil Elford, Director of Spiritual Health at both KHSC and Providence Care. “This technology, and how it helps to support and bring hope to those we serve — it’s all been deeply moving. We are so thankful for each of these generous gifts!”

Amanda’s husband is an advanced care paramedic and they have two young children. Work and family balance has been particularly challenging throughout this pandemic. Amanda is extremely thankful for the moral support she and her colleagues have received from the community, including through the UHKF Honour Your Caregiver program and Sprinkle Some Joy. 

“It’s been a very difficult year,” says Amanda. “But it honestly feels fantastic to be appreciated in those ways. Nursing in particular can be a thankless and demanding job, so it’s nice to have a little spotlight and appreciation for what we do. It’s totally reassured me that I’ve picked the right profession and that nursing people in their most vulnerable state is right for me.”