image of person wearing gloves with a syringe in a covid-19 vaccine bottle
May 11, 2021

ARTA Member Un-Retires to Serve Community as a COVID-19 Immunizer

There is no single retirement lifestyle that ends up suiting everybody. Some dream of travelling the world, while others want to spend time with those they love. Whatever your retirement plans were, it’s a safe bet that they’ve been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That was certainly the case for Donna Miller, an ARTA member and retired nurse. Like many others, when COVID-19 first came to Alberta, Donna and her husband put their retirement plans on hold. But, in the pandemic, Donna also saw the opportunity to help her community and decided to re-enter the workforce as a COIVD-19 immunizer.

Before COVID-19, Donna loved the freedom that retirement offered to visit family and friends on her own schedule. Along with her husband, she would often travel from her home in Lethbridge to visit loved ones across Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon. But of course, last spring, her in-person visits were put on hold. As a retired healthcare worker, she knew the importance of social distancing. Soon enough though, Donna began to feel restless.

“When we started hearing about the tragedies taking place in nursing homes in Ontario, I had a real urge to be able to help people,” says Donna. “So, at the end of last year, when it was announced that Alberta would begin distributing vaccines, I began the process of re-registering as an RN.”

For Donna, the paperwork couldn’t clear fast enough, as she was eager to start helping out. She even found that she was in good company — along with active nurses, she would be working alongside a handful of other retirees who also decided to join the immunization effort. While not every retiree would relish the idea of returning to work, for Donna, it was the perfect match. “I’m having a really good time,” she says. “The work is exceedingly fulfilling. Every client is a new person I get to meet, a new person I get to help.”

Donna plans to continue working until her contract ends in March 2022, when the pandemic is, hopefully, behind us. But once things return to normal, she plans on picking her retirement back up where she left off. “I’m really looking forward to the day when we can get the whole family together again and I can give them all big hugs,” she says. “The sooner everyone gets immunized, the sooner we can get back to seeing friends and enjoying life on our own terms.”

Thank you to Donna and all of ARTA’s nurses, whether fully retired or semi-retired. The hard work and selfless acts that defined your careers continue to keep our communities healthy and safe.