Retired EAMC nurse returns to work to help during pandemic

Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 9:33 PM EDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - March 15 marks one year since Lee County saw its very first COVID-19 case. Now, the hospital is administering thousands of vaccines per week, with the help some some retired healthcare workers.

Jackie Motley has spent her life serving the East Alabama community.

“I worked at the East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) for 42 years,” she said. “Ever since I was a small child, I never thought about doing anything but [nursing].”

But after working for more than four decades, it was time for her to retire a few years ago.

“I’ve got children and grandchildren, so it was great to be able to spend time with them, to be able to go to birthday parties when they had things going or just drop in,” Motley said.

Then came January 1, when she got the call asking if she’d come back to work at EAMC’s vaccination call center.

“No questions,” she said. “I said yes.”

Since then, she’s been helping anyone and everyone.

“I’ve been amazed by how many people have called. I mean thousands,” Motley said. “Some of them need questions, some of them need appointments. Some of them have no computers, need help getting computers.”

Officials with EAMC said she’s one of at least four retired nurses who have come back to work for the hospital during the pandemic.

“We’re just very appreciative,” said John Atkinson with EAMC.

According to Atkinson, having these nurses return to work made an impact.

“It allowed people who may have been working down here at the call center or working at the vaccine clinic to return to a hospital setting,” he said.

Motley said it feels overwhelming, in a good way, to be helping fight this pandemic.

“I just wanted to be involved distributing the vaccine to the community and to the state,” she said. “[I wanted] to do my part, and to help.”

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