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In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked our healthcare workers how they have been navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked our healthcare workers how they have been navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some of the responses from women across UNC Health about what they have been learning and advice they would give to others.

Jessica Simo, MHA Jessica Simo, MHA – UNC Medical Center

As a working parent, this pandemic has taught me a paradoxical lesson in the passage of time. While the days sometimes went by slowly in the thick of social distancing, it also made me realize how quickly my children are growing. While it didn’t feel like a gift at the time, I am grateful for the time we were forced to slow down and spend together as a family.


Keisha Queen, RN Keisha Queen, RN – UNC Medical Center

As a women’s healthcare nurse working on a busy maternity floor with six children of my own, the pandemic has made our family rely on each other. Responsibilities of each of child was heightened. I have learned my internal strength in its entirety during the pandemic. I had no idea how strong I was until then. Managing both home and work life has proved to be challenging, but with it all, I realized how strong and dependable my family really is when thrown into a challenging situation.


Angela Tulloch Angela Tulloch – UNC Medical Center

The pandemic has taught me that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for me to be happy, so to allow myself and others more grace. Also, it’s forced me to stop my everyday routine and helped me reset my priorities, which I probably wouldn’t have done had it not been for the pandemic. And I learned to celebrate the little things in life, which I was always too busy for before COVID-19.


Kiah Rivers Kiah Rivers – UNC Physicians Network

I have learned through this pandemic that you have to expect the unexpected and adapt to change very quickly. A piece of advice I would give others is to always have a back-up plan regardless if everything is going perfect!


Belinda Soflin, RN, MSN Belinda Soflin, RN, MSN – Wayne UNC Health Care

The pandemic has shown time and time again that our nurses and teammates have put aside their own fears, exhaustion and anxiety to make caring for our patients their number one priority. The sheer determination they had to help patients feel the presence of someone beside them, rooting for them, and never dying alone is something that I will never forget.


April Cotton, MD April Cotton, MD – Caldwell UNC Health Care

The pandemic has been a very unique experience in medicine. But in the end, I was amazed to watch the medical community from all levels of care pull together to care for COVID-19 patients, despite all the challenges of fighting a new and overwhelming disease. Even when they were exhausted, scared, confused and uncertain, they were there for their patients.


Iris W. Jackson Iris W. Jackson – Wayne UNC Health Care

The pandemic has taught us to love one another. We need to love our family and our coworkers because we don’t know when they will be taken from us. There is no better time to embrace the words “love they neighbor as thy self.” If we are concerned for others, we will take the right steps to help stop the spread.


Tammy Needham, RN, MSN Tammy Needham, RN, MSN – UNC Rockingham Health Care

In spite of the pandemic, we have made improvements in patient experience and the quality of care we provide. Can we see the finish line? Perhaps, yet we must be patient. Take care of yourself, so that you might take care of others.


Jenny BaileyJenny Bailey – Wayne UNC Health Care

During the pandemic I have learned to never take life, family and friends for granted. We are so completely blessed even through the challenges we have faced the last two years! We are the light of the world. Even in the darkest, most unpredictable times, there is good. We are all in this together and can help each other through any obstacles we may face.


LaShunda Thorpe, RN, MSNLaShunda Thorpe, RN, MSN – Johnston Health

My advice to people is to continue to wear your mask, take the vaccine, and perform really good handwashing. Exercise and eat balanced and healthy meals to help keep your immune system boosted. If we all take part in this, we can begin to return to normalization.


Lisa Rosenberg – UNC Physicians Network

COVID-19 has confirmed for me what I have always known to be true. People have an infinite capacity for kindness and sacrifice. Part of being in healthcare and leading people means helping others realize that they can and should make a difference for others. I wish I had known this was a marathon and not a sprint. I moved too fast (like I think we all did) expecting for there to be an *end.*


Patti Smith, RN, BA Patti Smith, RN, BA – Wayne UNC Health Care

During the pandemic, it was amazing to witness the tenacity of our teammates, who showed up every day despite having their own challenges at home such as young children, elderly parents, or immunocompromised friends and relatives. It was such a time of unknowns, yet each day we continued to clock in, push forward, and work in the most fluid and unpredictable situations.