It is certainly an uncertain time in our nation, and we are relying on healthcare workers more than ever to get through this. There are also those just getting started in their medical field who have been training in the midst of a global pandemic. We spoke with Lelind Jackson, a member of our current Surgical Neurophysiologist (SN1) Training Program, to see what it’s like to be a clinician in training in the midst of COVID-19.

Lelind JacksonLelind Jackson has always had a passion for healthcare and knew he wanted to be involved in medicine in some way. After graduating from Florida International University with a BA in Communication Arts in 2017, he was on track to be a pharmaceutical rep, but another opportunity changed his path. He joined SpecialtyCare as a MISS (minimally invasive surgical support) clinical technician. Within his first 90 days, he said, his manager, Sam Brown, pushed him to do more and to find ways to be more involved with patient care. When he learned about SpecialtyCare’s Surgical Neurophysiologist Training Program, he applied for the Fall 2018 cohort but sadly wasn’t accepted. “I gave myself more time to gain experience and to self reflect on what I truly wanted in life,” Lelind said. “In November 2019, I applied again and was granted an opportunity to work in my hometown, Phoenix, Arizona. Dreams really do come true.”

You were hired for our SN1 Training Program and shortly after  COVID-19 hit. How has that impacted your training?

COVID-19 has really shaken up our training process. We typically alternate between didactic and clinical training so that we can apply what we have learned in the field. With the recent restrictions, I am not allowed into the OR so it’s been primarily didactic. It’s tough for me because the OR is home and it’s where I feel that I can really put myself to the test. In the same breath, it has given me more of an opportunity to study and read various books and articles that have been made available to us through the program. This really is one of those situations that you can take advantage of gaining experience through your education.

How are you coping? Do you have any fears or has this made you even more excited about your future role in patient care?

Personally, this entire process has made me even more excited. The only true fear that I have ever had, as it pertains to healthcare, is not being able to save someone. When you choose a profession in healthcare, you make a conscious decision to put the needs of others before your own. When people need help, you should want to be one of the first people they think of. There’s a caption that is going viral that says “Not all heroes wear capes, some wear scrubs.” If that doesn’t light a fire in your heart then you might be in the wrong profession because I know that gives me a great sense of pride and I am truly blessed to be in a position that allows me to help others.

How has SpecialtyCare helped the SN1 class during this challenging time?

SpecialtyCare is the best company that I have ever worked for. Julie Trott, (Director of Education), has been with us every step of the way in making sure that we are pushing ourselves to be the best clinicians that we can be. Both personally and professionally, she has been an amazing resource during this time. Also with that being said, the constant communication from both immediate and upper management has been astounding. You can count on receiving at least one email a day updating you on the state of our company along with a vision of unity to help us band together during this tough time. There really isn’t much else that you can ask for from the leaders of a company.

What advice would you have for anyone interested in a similar career path or someone who is training during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Advice that I would give someone is just something that I tell myself, “Stay positive. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” Healthcare is all about expecting the unexpected. You have to be well educated and instinctive to be successful in this field. You also have to have tough skin because not everything will go your way but you can always give your best effort for the ones that are dependent upon you in whatever role you wish to pursue. If making a difference is something that you have a passion for, then healthcare is the right place for you.