In March of 2020, the world turned upside down for Zack Baker, a nurse at Advanced Clinician at Grossmont Hospital in San Diego - one of the first hospitals to be deemed a ‘COVID hospital’. Soon after, the rest of the globe would start to follow suit.
“I think I, like everyone, always knew there was always a possibility of something like this happening but most people didn’t really expect it to happen in their lifetime. I definitely didn’t see it being part of my career.”
A nurse for nine years prior to the pandemic, Zack was thrust into the front lines of the pandemic and for his heroism, has been awarded 1 Million Watts as part of OhmConnect’s ‘Thanks a Million’ program.
“Zack truly is my hero,” said his wife, Sarah. “He worked every day, in full PPE and sometimes hazmat-style gear, to do his best to save those hit hardest by the pandemic.”
In April 2020, he contracted COVID himself, and though he recovered quickly, he like many others lost his sense of smell. It has since returned, but he says he definitely still has some strange "COVID quirks" when it comes to smells. As soon as he recovered, he was back on the floor serving those who contracted the illness.
What impressed Sarah the most though was his dedication to being a present and committed father, through arguably the most stressful time in his career.
“Zack will come home in the evening after a grueling 12 hour shift, strip down in our garage and immediately head to the shower to reduce contamination, and then head straight in to read bedtime stories to our two small children.”
Miraculously (and heroically, we would say), he never failed to show up to work, never called in sick or skipped a day (even when he had COVID! He used vacation time).
“He is always concerned about his unit and how they are faring,” Sarah shared “Are they staffed enough? What else can he do to contribute?”
Zack says he’s simply thankful to have had work throughout the pandemic, when so many around him did not.
“In the moment it was hard to process that was going on and everything moved so quickly but now it’s crazy to look back and see what we have all been through together. I was happy to do my part and just thankful to be considered ‘essential’”.
Thank you for all that you do, Zack and congratulations on this honor!