NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The current health crisis is calling some health care workers out of retirement, in an effort to help in the fight against COVID -19.

Retired nurses and doctors have been critical in the response against COVID-19 by giving out vaccinations and also running testing sites. Essentially their efforts are keeping people out of the hospital.

Fayetteville City Health Officer, Dr. Marti Sharkey says hospitals are at full capacity and staffing is a big part of the challenge. Adding that if they had more nurses they could staff more rooms.

She tells us that when retired nurses or doctors step into these roles by helping in vaccination clinics, for example, they free up clinical staff who can focus on the hospitals’ more urgent needs and work in the COVID units

Dr. Sharkey says that because of them more people are protected from the virus.

“They really want to do anything to help out the current nursing staff that is so overwhelmed, overworked and burned out… So anything they can do to help out their fellow nurses they are happy to do,” said Dr. Sharkey.

She adds some of the retired staff are also helping by now giving the monoclonal antibody therapy as well to treat COVID patients.

We spoke to one retired nurse who says she went back to work because of the nursing shortage and she got a job with the COVID -19 hotline at a local hospital.

A local couple tell us that although they are not taking care of COVID-19 patients directly they are doing all they can to get as many people vaccinated as possible and crush COVID.

Dr. Mike Myer and Kay Myer, a retired registered nurse are part of a group called Nurses Crushing COVID.

The group volunteers across NWA giving folks the COVID-19 shot.

Although the Myer’s are both retired, they say their need to help people has not gone away. On top of getting folks the shot, they make sure people have the right information about vaccines.

The group also takes opportunities to show front-line workers as much love as possible.

“It’s gratifying to be able to do something about the pandemic and being able to make a difference,” said Dr. Mike Myer.

“Being able to help our co-workers and take the burden off of them…. It’s very nice to come together and share the same desire to help,” said Kay Myer.

She says one of her best memories was giving vaccines at a local assisted living facility here in Fayetteville. That’s because she was able to give her mom, her first COVID-19 shot. She has vaccinated several family members and friends and says knowing her loved ones are protected means the world to her.

They have worked in schools, churches, local pharmacies and various clinics in the area.
We asked them how long they plan to help with vaccinations, and they tell us when the pandemic is over.

Sharkey says there are various groups like the NWA council, Nurses Crushing COVID and you can reach out to her directly to connect you with opportunities to help during the pandemic.