Advent Hope: Health Care Workers in the Time of Covid-19

Each year our church (Awaken Community in St. Paul) does an Advent Series, focusing on a variety of themes including darkness and hope. My art typically leans more towards the darker side, but in an especially turbulent year I decided to focus instead on hope.

Due to the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic in 2020, masks have been an important part of both battling the infection and keeping healthcare workers safe, while also providing safe care. Working in hospice I've now had a great deal of patients and met a great number of family members who I only know by their eyes and not the rest of their faces - and what I find amazing is how much we can understand and communicate from just using our eyes for facial expressions. 

A typical (and appropriate) image that we've been seeing in the media now is of healthcare workers wearing PPE and looking exhausted, with deep sadness in their eyes.  These are important images, with many reasons for that sadness.  For these portraits however, I decided to do the opposite.  These 10 images are of 10 of my current co-workers wearing some of the different masks and other PPE that we wear, but the twist is that under the masks everyone is smiling - because part of our role as healthcare workers is to give hope.  I opted to not do a self-portrait in PPE for this series as I wanted to focus on those people who I see throughout the day (though I was only able to photograph a handful of my co-workers as I had a short window once I started the project before I needed to complete it). 

Thank you to these friends and to all healthcare workers who are striving to help during these difficult times. 

Jen, Hospice RN Case Manager
Stephanie, Hospice Medical Social Worker

Ashley, Hospice RN Case Manager

Jo, Facility RN

Michael, Hospice Medical Social Worker

Florence, Hospital Medical Social Worker

Sheila, Hospice LPN

Amber, Hospice Medical Social Worker

Penny, Hospice Resource RN

Sue, Hospice Music Therapist

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