Modern Day Heroes: Health Care Workers

This year has been a mixture of chaos and uncertainty, to say the least. From wildfires continuing to spread throughout our planet to a worldwide pandemic, it is easy to forget that we have individuals who put themselves on the line everyday and risk their well-being to help us overcome these trying times.

Among these individuals are thousands of nurses and other health care workers who work day and night to help take care of our health needs. Nurses have played a critical role in the fight against COVID-19, and they have had to adapt to the new changes that the pandemic has brought to their lives. 

Deborah Bedwell, a nurse practitioner and the clinical director of the University Primary Care Center (UPCC), shared that she has been working in the “field of nursing for 34 years and an advanced practice nurse for five years.”

As a nurse practitioner, Bedwell’s daily tasks consists of a variety of measures:

We offer in-office testing for acute illnesses, order labs and diagnostic testing, make referrals and order prescriptions. We also help conduct the wellness program for the university. We also see university students for acute health problems and be a resource for other student services. We also see patients in office and through telemedicine for acute and chronic illnesses across the lifespan,” Bedwell shared. 

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Bedwell mentioned that some aspects of these daily tasks and protocols have changed. 

“We implemented a telemedicine platform so patients could still be seen for follow ups. It has been very useful in meeting the needs of our patients. Contact tracing planning was also formulated and implemented to keep students and employees safe during this unprecedented pandemic,” Bedwell noted. “Early on we made arrangements in patient scheduling and made a ‘sick’ and ‘well’ waiting room to reduce exposures. We continually must stay abreast of newest CDC guidelines and implementing contact tracing.” 

Although these nurses have been in the battlefield, fighting against this outbreak, they are still taking the extra precautions that they need to stay safe.

 “We have implemented a triaging system for patients suspect of COVID so that testing can be ordered efficiently. We have secured additional supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep the staff safe as well as our patients,” Bedwell said. 

When asked if she thought her and the staff were more at risk of catching COVID-19 while working in the nursing field, Bedwell stated:

“I may be more at risk of catching COVID-19 due to seeing patients, but implementing the triaging has cut down on exposure of patients that are showing signs of illness. The use of daily PPE, additional cleaning measures and thorough hand washing also helps prevent spread of illness.”

Bedwell made it apparent that we, too, can help to prevent more cases of COVID-19:

“Everyone doing their part of maintaining 6 foot social distancing, wearing a mask and being mindful of frequent and thorough hand washing is imperative to the mitigation of COVID-19.  Also avoiding large crowds or gatherings where social distancing can not be maintained is also important. Another factor that is very important is staying home when you are sick, not just to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but many other communicable illnesses.”

Thank you to all of the nurses and doctors out in the world today who are working to put an end to this pandemic. You are truly our heroes.


The Trailblazer has realized that there are more than just one category of everyday heroes in the world today. Because of this, “Modern Day Heroes” will be a series of stories that features these everyday heroes.