Praise for Essential Workers of All Kinds in Our Communities is Long Overdue

A Commentary by Linda McKellar, a retired emergency care nurse living in Fort Erie, Ontario

Posted March 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I was speaking with a former co-worker and we both expressed how frustrating it was to need a pandemic before so many hard working and selfless people in all jobs were recognized.

I especially want to express my gratitude for all of those in my former profession who are still on the job. I can’t tell you how often medical workers are disrespected and verbally and even physically assaulted. (Statistics show even more than police!)

A co-worker’s leg was broken. Another suffered a stroke after a beating. I’ve seen doctors punched and expensive medical equipment destroyed. People come into the ER with weapons. Some said it was “part of the job” to take abuse.

Suddenly people realize how essential and devoted these people are. They are currently working under stressful circumstances. They are fearful for themselves and their families.

In spite of that, they are there for us.

Drivers waved and honked horns as they passed this man in downtown St. Catharines earlier this month, holding up a sign thanking frontline workers for their service during COVID-19 outbreak. File photo by Doug Draper

They still go to work knowing they risk injury and infectious diseases that they can take home to their families. It is sad that a disaster is needed for people to realize that everyone – doctors, nurses, technicians, LPN’s, PSW’s, housekeepers – all do their best and that they do care.

This should not just apply to health care providers. Truckers who deliver supplies, grocery and pharmacy workers, clergy, teachers, cleaners, garbage collectors…EVERYONE who works for all of us deserves a round of applause and not just in times of crisis.

When this is over, hopefully sooner rather than later, remember to thank those people who do their jobs every day. The words respect and gratitude need to be rescued from the dust bin.

Linda McKellar is a resident of Fort Erie in Niagara, Ontario and is a retired nurse who has been a strong advocate for quality, universal health care. She is also an avid follower of public affairs who frequently shares here views on Niagara At Large.

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym),  in the space immediately below.

4 responses to “Praise for Essential Workers of All Kinds in Our Communities is Long Overdue


    The fast food outlets offering take out food deals to health care workers should make it for ALL HEALTH CARE WORKERS…

    Apparently they don’t think all the PSW workers and anyone other than an RN or doctor deserves anything for putting their lives on the line in this pandemic. Please SHARE!


    • Linda McKellar

      Absolutely Leslie – I hope you don’t feel I omitted anyone. A friend told me that only the “select” individuals and places like the ER are getting food sent to them, often free. They are the most visible.

      People also need to realize that the staff at nursing homes (where PSW’s and LPN’s are in the majority) are dealing with those most susceptible and do the direct daily physical and emotional care at personal risk and often with less equipment.

      Staff at ALL levels on all hospital floors and ICU are exposed to the virus (for longer periods at a time than a doctor), contact the ill directly and even dispose of and suction contaminated secretions from patients also at great risk to themselves.

      Housekeepers have major contact with contaminated rooms and equipment. Others need to sterilize, order and replenish supplies. Laundry is essential. Clerks have to process orders and often have to try to find and call in staff. Registration clerks need to find beds in appropriate areas even when there just aren’t any available. Kitchen staff also have contact. Clergy offer comfort and are often a vital contact between those in isolation and their families. Everyone theoretically can be at risk either directly or indirectly.

      While sending food is a nice gesture, health care is a team effort. Everyone has a role but it is a pyramid and if the base of that pyramid isn’t there, the whole system collapses. As far as I was always concerned, categories are irrelevant but even more so at times like these. That is why I mentioned just a few other team members. Those already mentioned as well as all kinds of technicians (Xray, Lab, respiratory therapists) etc., paramedics, volunteers and others are working long hours and don’t even get a chance to eat even if food is available. We must not forget any of them.


  2. Essential workers are the heroes of this pandemic. Thank you for putting yourselves at risk to serve the rest of us.


  3. Salute to the frontline ..they’re the real super heroes 🦸‍♀️ 🦸a thankyou note from Hamilton


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