Member Story – Lindsay Cho
“This is more personal than usual, and we’re working as a team to do the best we can.”
During this pandemic, nurses are our superheroes. Their superpowers are care, compassion, and trust, and they’re making invaluable contributions at their jobs and in their communities. We celebrate them during National Nurses Week.
Lindsay Cho is a Registered Nurse at Valley State Prison (VSP) in Chowchilla. An RN for more than a decade, she’s working in a career she describes as “both rewarding and challenging.”
Her job is triage and treatment in the prison infirmary. Working “first watch”—also known as the graveyard shift—Lindsay is a first-responder for the medical emergencies that happen overnight, fielding medical alarms from the housing units.
With the prison population on modified lockdown to minimize inmate movement, those “emergency” calls have become more frequent due to the anxiety brought on by COVID-19.
“We’re all experiencing lots of stress and fear about what’s happening,” she says. “Will we have all the personal protective equipment we need? Will the patients be safe? Will we be protected?”
From her unique vantage point, Lindsay gets a up close perspective on how the pandemic affects her job and prison operations. “The offices are closed, so I can catch up on the day’s communications,” she says. “Conditions are still changing frequently, and the way to survive is to go with the flow, be flexible, and control what you can.”
Lindsay says that improved safety would come with a more thorough and common understanding of the risks of coronavirus. “Not every employee embraces the dangers of cross-contamination, and we’re still working to raise awareness.”
Lindsay has been a Local 1000 union steward since 2012 and in 2018, she took the extra step of completing our LAPS (Leadership Apprentice Program for Stewards) training. Today, she’s using her leadership skills to support her fellow members during a tough time.
She’s proud there’s a belief at VSP that “we’re all in this together, and the nurses here are doing a really good job sticking together.” But it’s a challenge.
“Uncertainty about the virus and about working conditions leads to fear and concern,” she says. “This is more personal than usual, and we’re working as a team to do the best we can.”
Lindsay Cho is proud of her nursing job at VSP “because it’s a fundamental service.” Now more than ever during National Nurses Week, the celebration of the unique contributions nurses make to society are worthy of recognition.