VALLEY STREAM, New York -- The coronavirus pandemic has put healthcare workers on the front lines through some of the toughest shifts they have ever had to work in their careers.
Some of the newest batches of healthcare workers were permitted to graduate early and others were coming out of retirement to bring hospitals across the country even more support.
However, for hospital workers Alneta Nance, Dorothy Gurley, and Shelia Powell who have each worked at Long Island's Jewish Valley Stream Hospital for 50 years, this wasn't going to stop them from doing their job.
"I never thought about leaving," said Gurley, Nurses Aide/Technician. "I'm going to tell you from my heart, you have good days and bad days, but you got to work. What are you going to do leave and go someplace else, might as well just stay where you are at."
86-year-old, Nance who worked during the peak of the pandemic, wanted to be there for her patients and wasn't afraid of contamination since their staff was fully equipped with PPE.
Her secret to her work ethic is to not get involved with gossip and be there for your patients no matter what issues you might be dealing with internally.
"When you come to work you leave your problems at home," said Nance, Nurses Assistant. "You don't come to work and get in the hallway and discuss things with your friends. You come to work, to work."
Nance is actually Powell's aunt who loves that this dedication to the hospital has become a family affair. Even though the ladies don't work in the same departments, Powell and Gurley have breakfast together every morning before the start of their shifts.
It's one of their favorite ways to start the day and they look forward to eating a good meal and sharing a good conversation.
"It's something about this hospital that pulled me here," said Powell, Nurses Aide. "I'm needed in this building. It is something about this building, it is special, and it is unique. The people and why I stay so long, I don't know why, but I'm still here."
As the three ladies walked the halls of the hospital, they were greeted with smiles and compliments applauding their major work milestones.
"It's the people that keep me here, it's the management, it's the union, it's the family," said Powell. "It's a lot of love here and it's family, it's the place and it's family."
Nance, Gurley, and Powell do not plan on retiring any time soon, even though each of their families encourages them to. They are proud to do what they love in the hospital that made them into the strong workers they are today.
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone