The last 10 months have been the most challenging of Patricia Galvin’s 30-plus year nursing career.
On Dec. 15, she became the second MD Anderson workforce member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At that moment, she felt a mix of emotions, including hope for the future.
“I’ve been waiting for this day to come,” says Galvin, a clinical nurse in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). “I feel honored and grateful to be among the first in the country to receive this vaccine. We can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
On the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic
Galvin has worked as a nurse in MD Anderson’s ICU for more than 20 years. She’s used to working in a challenging work environment, but says it’s become even more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Working along the front lines with my team, we’ve seen a lot of pain and isolation,” she says. “We are a gritty little group, but this year has been especially tough.”
While her patients haven’t been able to have family members in the ICU as MD Anderson works to keep them safe from COVID-19, Galvin and her colleagues now step in to support them.
“We’ve provided comfort for patients in their most vulnerable moments,” Galvin says. “We’re constantly advocating for our patients and trying to keep them as connected to their loved ones as possible, while ensuring the highest standards of safety.”
COVID-19 vaccine brings added protection
Galvin, who has four children and 12 grandchildren, hasn’t seen the inside of a grocery store since February and hasn’t let her guard down when it comes to social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.
“I have a duty to protect my patients and colleagues, as well as my family and community,” she says. “I live in a multigenerational household, and it’s important to lead by example to keep myself safe. I want to make sure I’m around to see my grandchildren grow up.”
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine was an opportunity for Galvin to add another layer of protection and to benefit from the latest science.
“It’s incredible to work at an institution dedicated to groundbreaking research and science. This is no different,” she says. “I reviewed the research and learned it’s been many years in the making to bring this type of vaccine technology to the marketplace. This is a historic achievement, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Galvin knows the vaccine is just the beginning of the end of the pandemic and a step in getting the disease under control. Even though she received the vaccine, she will continue her vigilance to safety precautions to protect her patients, her team and her family.
“I want to be a role model and practice what I preach,” she says.