Page 4 - MidWeek Kauai - May 12, 2021
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                     Each day, and especially during Nurses Week, Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i honors its brave frontline health
care workers such as Corrina Ibanez, Kimberly Gibu
and Dionicia Lagapa, who have led the organization’s expansive COVID vaccination efforts throughout the state.
For decades, the coun- try has commemorat- ed National Nurses Week (May 6-12) as a way to honor the real-life super- heroes who show up day in and day out — humbly and without hesitation — and this year is certainly no different. While most of the world was
to care for any members who came through the door. It was a very tough, challenging and long year to see people get sick, and also to keep our family members and us from getting sick. There were a lot of separations and hours without each other because we had to ensure that we all had to stay safe.”
the chair, Lagapa will al- ways remember the look on her face.
Though the past several months have been some of the most grueling for nurses, Lagapa — who spearheaded much of Kaiser’s coronavi- rus efforts with grace, kind- ness and calm, according to her colleagues — says it’s been rewarding, too.
  shut down, learning TikTok dances and cooking viral pas- ta recipes, hospitals and the hardworking people within them experienced quite the opposite.
so it was uncharted territory for all of us,” says Dionicia Lagapa, MS, APRN, director, clinic operations for Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi.
When word got around late fall that vaccines were on the horizon, tidal waves of relief washed over those who experienced the very worst of it all. The initial round went to frontline health care work- ers, and when one of the first employees — an infectious disease physician — sat in
“She had definitely seen the worst of the worst, and I remember her saying to me, ‘I have to call my mom after this,’” Lagapa says. “It was so emotional because it was such a tough year to watch people succumb to this dis- ease, get ill, watch families get separated. The frontline workers in the organization I work for worked tirelessly during this pandemic and to see their expressions of hope and gratitude was just price- less. It made it so rewarding and seemed like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”
“In all the years I have been here, this organization has been wonderful for me, personally and professional- ly, and I know a lot of nurs- es feel that. So, when it was time to roll up our sleeves, no one thought twice about it,” she says. “A lot of people came in on the weekends or volunteered in the commu- nity and said, ‘I’ ll take that
“We were in the heart of a pandemic with most of Amer- ica and the whole world, who had never experienced this,
“People shut down, they went virtual, they stayed home, but we ... ramped up. We were front and center, we were there seven days a week

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