Retired health care workers are returning to work and helping with the pandemic

ATLANTA — Having enough health care workers to give vaccines is a critical part of the process. To meet the demand, Piedmont Healthcare is asking retired nurses if they’d like to come back to help.

Thelma Thomas said retirement has been great, as she has enjoyed doing crafts, cooking and gardening. Now just over a year after retiring, Thomas got a call from Piedmont Healthcare. It wanted to know if the nurse who worked in the field for 49 years — and who spent 13 of them at Piedmont — would come back to work to give vaccines.

Thomas said yes. She said she has the skill set and thought about people who were locked in during the pandemic and had their normal lives taken away from them.

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William Ryan, the talent acquisition director for Piedmont Healthcare, said the organization made an all-hands callout to their retired nursing staff and anyone who had recently left. Ryan said, so far, the response has been encouraging. He said many of the retired nurses said, “If you need me, I’m ready.”

Nursing shortages were an issue in Georgia before the pandemic. Thomas didn’t expect to return after retiring but said it is worth it. She said, “I think it’s going to help the community to get back their lives.” She expects to be back at work later this month.