A Nurse Gave the COVID Vaccination to Both Her Grandmothers After a Year of Limited Contact

Photo credit: Courtesy of Megan Patterson
Photo credit: Courtesy of Megan Patterson

From Woman's Day

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis hasn't been easy for anyone, but for many healthcare workers the past year has been particularly challenging. As a nurse who has spent much of the year working on the COVID floor at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, Megan Patterson wasn't able to see the majority of her friends and family members for most of 2020, including the two grandmothers who helped raise her. However, after nearly a year apart, she was able to see both her grandmothers in the span of a month when she gave them their first doses of the COVID vaccine.

Being able to vaccinate both of her grandmothers was serendipitous, according to Patterson. The first grandmother arrived for her appointment while Patterson was up on the COVID floor, and the second happened to show up when Patterson was working in the vaccine clinic. "It wasn't planned or anything like that," she tells Woman's Day. "They were both spontaneous and really rewarding moments. Emotional moments."

Related: The chickenpox vaccine is safe. Avoiding it is not. These are facts.

Both grandmothers turned 80 in 2020, and not being able to celebrate that birthday milestone with them was difficult for Patterson. And though she'd been able to pay them window visits at various times during the pandemic, being able to give her grandmothers their first doses of the COVID vaccine was an experience that Patterson says will stay with her forever.

Patterson was first inspired to become a nurse after her older brother was shot while serving in Iraq in 2006. The injury left him paralyzed, and when he was stable enough to return to the States, Patterson was inspired by the nurses who helped support her brother through his recovery process.

"I saw the nurses who kept him alive, who hadn't given up on him, and wouldn't let him give up on himself," she says. "I wanted to become somebody's fighter."

She went on to earn her associate degree from Galen College of Nursing before accepting a job in the neurology unit at Bayfront Health. Then, when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out in the United States in March 2020, Patterson got her chance to be a fighter. She volunteered to spend her days on the COVID floor, where she worked consistently from March through July. After July, she picked up shifts as needed and kept busy — that is, until she caught COVID herself in October 2020.

"I was knocked out," Patterson recounts. "I was so tired." She was out of work for a month before she was able to return, but fortunately, she's made a full recovery. Now she's back at the hospital full-time and continuing her studies at Galen, where she's currently pursuing her Bachelor's in Nursing.

"To keep my mental health in check, I thought it was a good idea to go back to school during the pandemic," she explains. "When I wasn't at work, it helped keep my mind off of the things that were going on at work."

It's been a stressful year for Patterson, but she at least has peace of mind knowing that two of the most important people in her life have received both doses of the COVID vaccine (especially since she got to administer one of those doses herself).

"I think a lot of fear comes from the unknown," she says. "I think that once people start understanding things and believing in them, they'll feel better about that. For me to feel so confident in this vaccine that I would give it to my own grandmothers... I just hope that some people who are on edge can hear that and feel a little bit more comfortable."

Subscribe to Woman's Day today and get 73% off your first 12 issues. And while you’re at it, sign up for our FREE newsletter for even more of the Woman's Day content you want.

You Might Also Like