From war to the fight against COVID-19, a local nurse’s story

From war to the fight against COVID-19, a local nurse’s story

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Hospitals across the country have been battling the coronavirus for months.

With that comes thousands of medical professionals who’ve stepped up to help in the worst of times.

It’s something a nurse at Memorial Health knows after serving her country.

Most nurses see their job as an act of service to their community. For Mary Tabor that’s true, but this isn’t the first time she’s answered the call. Fighting COVID-19 is just one chapter in her story.

On a daily basis Mary is leading a team of more than 1,200 nurses at Memorial Health. Once that’s done she begins processing orders for another 1,200 Navy reservists as a commander for the nurse corps of the US Navy Reserves. Working 17 plus hours in response to the coronavirus.

“When you talk about what we’re going through right now our pandemic I think about all of the leadership the training that I had to endure in the military that made me successful so that I could come into the civilian sector. And then the civilian sector picked up on that too and they trained me so I just took the best of both worlds,” said Tabor.

Mary has served in the Navy reserves for 17 years. She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 for nine months, working in a makeshift hospital on trauma cases. She’s seen the worst, but believes it prepared her for leadership and this pandemic.

“I realized that I was leading right where I was at and that people were coming to me asking questions and I was in charge of a bunch of nurses and then I was that force like I was that calm, they called me mama bear. I was like oh right so this is kind of like parenting, but I have parenting of a bunch of younger nurses and I realized that I can do this, I should do this.”

She returned home and got her Masters, ready to lead nurses in a new way. She says her experience in the military helped to create surge plans for the hospital and the staff. It also taught her the importance of remaining calm, positive and sticking together.

“Even if you’re in a war or if you’re in a pandemic, if you handle things you have an optimistic spirit and you know it’s going to be okay even though, if you don’t have all the answers if you have faith and trust that we’re all together and a team, we have each other then we’re going to get through this.”

Ultimately, Mary says it’s her experience that led her to Memorial and her service is far from over.

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