By Richard Rourk
Employees at Unicoi County Hospital received a rousing welcome last week as they arrived for their daily shifts.
Administrators joined with the community, which included programs from Unicoi County High School, to welcome front-line workers with a pep rally at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16, outside of Unicoi County Hospital.
“Our staff was very surprised and they loved it,” declared Ballad Health Assistant Vice President and Administrator of Unicoi County Hospital Love Hobson. “They were so excited and so appreciative.”
Hobson said the front-line workers were treated like movie stars by the crowd.
“One doctor told me they never felt so important in their life,” Hobson said. “There was a nurse who was so overwhelmed they told me that for a brief moment they felt like a celebrity and that they had been a nurse for 35 years and had never felt so important.”
The pep rally was a morale booster for a group of workers that has been fighting a pandemic for more than a year and a half now.
“The energy and excitement were still there at the beginning of the week,” Hobson said.
The front-line workers at Unicoi County Hospital are facing the same fatigue that the rest of the nation’s hospitals are facing in the time of COVID-19.
“Just like everyone else working in healthcare, they are tired,” Hobson said. “Tired and very stressed. It’s been over a year since we started this fight with COVID-19 and our staff has fought hard and they continue to rally back.”
Hobson announced that the staff at Unicoi County Hospital is excited to offer monoclonal antibodies to help in the fight against COVID-19.
“We started delivering doses on July 31,” Hobson said. “Since then we have given right at 150 doses. We have only admitted four of those patients into Ballad facilities so we are running around a 96 percent success rate with those infusions.”
The staff at Unicoi County Hospital is reaching out to the community to help in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have to stay diligent,” Hobson said. “It’s still important to wear a mask, distance and sanitize your hands. If you are not vaccinated please get vaccinated if you are able.”
Hobson gave a special thanks to Unicoi County High Schoo’s marching band and cheerleaders for their participation in the hospital’s pep rally.