By Michael Boriero
When the Quebec government sent out a call asking for retired nurses to dig up their old scrubs and join the provincial vaccination campaign, Carole Gregoire didn’t think twice about throwing her name into the mix.
“Well, you know, you see what’s going on and you hear about what’s going on and I think that basically you can’t really take the nurse out of a person. I was healthy and I had time that I could give and I just couldn’t stay home anymore,” she said in a phone interview.
Gregoire retired from nursing in 2014. She worked in the provincial health network for 36 years. And although Gregoire was happily enjoying her retirement, she saw an opportunity to make a difference in Quebec, and to help alleviate the stress on the nurses dealing with a pandemic.
Gregoire applied to the JeContribue website and she started administering vaccinations roughly two weeks later in March 2021. It was a chaotic time, as Quebecers scrambled to get their first dose, she explained, adding the retired nurses knew the risk of coming back.
“I worked in the neonatal intensive care unit, so yes, there were a bit of nerves and yes, we could have been contaminated. There was a risk, a real risk, but either we sit and do nothing or we just go ahead and do it, and I was in the go ahead and do it category,” said Gregoire.
Besides the threat of COVID-19 hanging over their heads, Gregoire said that the hardest part of returning for most of the retired nurses was the paperwork and playing catch-up with new technology. They had to take part in training sessions and register into the system.
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