Following PPE shortages, a seamstress-turned-nurse helped her hospital.
By Grant Heiman
Nurse Amelia Lloyd uses her training as a seamstress to sew masks.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, saw the potential for a shortage in personal protective equipment.
Due to the low number of COVID-19 cases in children and safety protocols, there were fewer patients in the hospital and less staff hours were needed.
To help fill a need, Bill Adamson, M.D., surgeon in chief, set up a temporary mask-making assembly line. Employees could pick up more hours by contributing to the project—all they needed was a willingness to learn.
With open hours on her schedule and a background in sewing, Amelia Lloyd, a nurse at the inpatient rehabilitation facility, helped sew masks.
Seamstress by trade
Twenty-five years into her nursing career, this is the first time Lloyd’s training as a seamstress has come in handy. Originally from Peru, Lloyd attended technical school to become a professional seamstress and worked as one for a few years.
“It was really my first career,” says Lloyd. “I made wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and I even made a jacket once.”
After moving to the U.S. and having children, Lloyd decided to go back to school for nursing.
“I realized I needed to get more education and I liked the medical field,” she says. “It was the most practical to care for my kids and family too.”
Providers turned mask-makers
Staff of all skill levels and backgrounds from across the organization volunteered to make masks. From late March to May, they made almost 8,000 of masks for non-clinical staff, employees who don’t interact with patients, and the community.
This served as an opportunity for Lloyd to meet new people from all over the hospital including staff from IT, human resources and other departments and positions. “I learned if we can all work together, like we did in that sewing room, then we can get through this. We need to stick together and help each other out right now,” says Lloyd.
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