Local Health Care Hero in Flanders: A Personal Journey

We are all aware of the difficulties caused by our current COVID-19 crisis.  Sheltering in place, hand washing, mask and glove wearing, social distancing. Some have even found their jobs are compromised.


For a great many of us the reality is that we will not be forced to endure the worst of symptoms from this virus.  But there are those who will and those will require expert care from dedicated health care professionals.  We know them these days as “Health Care Heroes”.


We have seen signs on lawns and TV PSAs expressing the public gratitude towards this special group people.  But do any of us actually know one?


Some of us do.  And for those who don’t, allow me to introduce a woman who lives quietly in Flanders. 


Linda Mandrackie, RN, BSN is a Flanders resident for twenty years.  She is the mother of a Mt. Olive High School graduate and wife to retired Radiology Technologist Steve for 40 years.  She is a graduate of the St. Francis school of nursing in Jersey City and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from St Elizabeth College.  She has been a professional nurse for close to 45 years.  In that time, she has endured a number of health care threat events including HIV, H1N1, SARS, MRSA, Avian Flu, and Swine flu. The list goes on. Dedication and perseverance to a career that can be both extremely rewarding yet emotionally exhausting has never been more evident.


Linda’s nursing career has been hospital based and has taken her through many different job descriptions.  Staff nurse, head nurse, ICU, CCU, Recovery Room (PACU) and finally in the Same Day Surgery Unit where she currently works.


COVID-19 changed all that.  The hospital she works at in Jersey City was designated as a primary COVID-19 center for Hudson County.  That meant many departments needed to be re-purposed. She found herself having to don the PPE (personal protective equipment) of one who cares directly for patients that are in induced comas and on the ventilators that were in short supply for a time.  She would come home tired and emotionally exhausted yet still needing to get ready for whatever the next day would bring.


As things begin to wind down, she is preparing to resume her SDS duties, but this part of her journey will always be remembered for the impact it had on the first half of 2020.


So, if you happen to see our hometown health care hero please remember to thank her for her efforts.  It will brighten her day.


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