LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — This week marks "Health Care Appreciation Week", which is a time to celebrate and thank health care workers for all they have done.
Kentucky's health care workers are heroes. They are brave, selfless and full of compassion for our people. They're always there in our times of need, and now it's our turn to be there for them. pic.twitter.com/DYWCgmC8H3
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) August 22, 2021
"To everybody on the front lines fighting this pandemic, thank you, thank you," Governor Andy Beshear said in a video posted to Twitter. "We can't begin to express how grateful we are knowing the difficult times we've all been through, but you especially."
One of the health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic is UK nurse Luke Bourland.
He is the division charge nurse in the Emergency Department, so he has witnessed the pain and loss this virus has inflicted on Kentuckians.
According to Bourland, the situation in the ER recently has changed.
"It's busier, people are sicker, people are younger," he said.
"We were excited the vaccines came out, it dipped down, the numbers did, and now it's back up again," he said.
With the help of his team, they are fighting back.
"We've really focused and come together as a team," he said. "If it wasn't for teamwork, that's what gets us through each day."
The pandemic can be mentally and emotionally draining, and his colleagues provide some much-needed support and vice versa. No matter what is going on every day, though, Bourland comes into the job with a positive attitude.
“Luke is a HealthCare Hero because the Emergency Department is a very challenging place to work, but he arrives every day prepared to care for anything that comes through the doors with a great attitude," Bourland's boss, Patti Howard, said.
Bourland said his family is also a source of support. And he encourages all Kentuckians to cherish the moments with their own loved ones.
"We see patients come in who were unfortunately cut short time with their family because of this virus," he said. "You don't know how much time you have with them, and you don't want to be looking down the road wishing that you shoulda coulda."
When asked what his advice would be for LEX18 viewers Bourland said, "the vast majority of our patients that we're getting are unvaccinated. I can't tell you how many that I've been at their bedside or heard stories from other nurses and people say, 'I wish I would have gotten the vaccine'. Please reach out to your doctors, your providers, your pharmacists. Get the good information so you can really get the best information so you can really make the best decision for yourself."
Currently, UK Healthcare reports it has 87 positive inpatients. Of those, 77 are unvaccinated. 37 people are in the ICU and 30 are on ventilators.
Anyone who wants to donate to support frontline COVID-19 health care heroes can do so here.
LEX18 will be featuring "Health Care Heroes" throughout the week. If you know someone who has gone above and beyond, please tell us! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on our Facebook post below: