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Kalispell nurses say thank you to the Flathead community

Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 22:00:27-04

KALISPELL — A group of Kalispell Regional Hospital nurses want to say thank you to the community for the extra support and love during the coronavirus pandemic.

Karen Hunnicutt is a social worker with Kalispell Regional Hospital's rehab unit. Since coronavirus hit the hospital, she says it's been non-stop and challenging.

"It is a mix, roller-coaster of emotions, honestly. Dealing with all the changes and the rules we had to go through with the hospital," she said. "Everybody is anxious already. So, I think the masks, for me, were probably the hardest thing because I like to make eye contact and develop a rapport really fast."

She says while masks keep herself and others safe, she felt like it created a barrier for her and her patients. But Hunnicutt said that the Flathead community support is what's kept her going.

"Some of the money coming from the community, the hospital put that towards what they call a compassion cart," said Hunnicutt. "And they bought tons of yummy snacks and decorated the cart, and they brought it around to every unit. And that just lifts your spirits when you're working on the unit and just in the walls of the hospital all day long."

She says thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write a note.

"Those have not gone unread. So, they put those on the wire so we can read those daily," she said.

Registered nurse Kayla Tenney said that it's stressful thinking about how contagious the virus is.

Kalispell Regional Hospital is taking extra precautions and taking employee temperature checks when they enter the building.

"Being cautious as you leave so you don't bring it home to your family, and then just being really attentive to your symptoms and yourself so that you're not bringing it into the hospital where people are vulnerable," said Tenney.

But she says the Flathead community has given her hope.

"Some sidewalk chalk art, which is pretty fun. A lot of masks, we love the masks from the community," she said. "I love picking out a different mask all the time. That's fun."

Jennie Walker who is a shift supervisor at Kalispell Regional said that she's so proud of the hospital and the community for coming together. And they all want to say thank you to the entire community.

"None of us have been in something like this, a global pandemic, but I think everyone has risen up and it's just been really neat to see for healthcare," said Walker.