Faces of the Frontlines: Her heroes have always been nurses
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Emergency room nurse Lydia Kindred didn’t go into the medical field because she wanted to be a hero; she became a nurse because her mother has always been her hero.
“My mom was actually a nurse. I just idolized her career and what she had in this town,” Kindred said. “I saw how people just respected her and loved her and what she could provide to her community. I decided that’s what I wanted to do as well.”
These days, Kindred finds herself on the frontlines of a battle she could never have imagined when she graduated with a degree in nursing from the University of Wyoming in 2015. She’s still getting used to the idea that she is now one of the heroes in the fight against COVID-19.
“I don’t think any of us went into the medical field thinking, ‘I want to be called the hero,’” Kindred said. “I’m doing this job, because I want to help people, so it’s kind of funny when people call you a hero.”
Kindred was born and raised in Steamboat Springs, and after graduation, headed to New York City with her high school sweetheart to pursue an education in theater with dreams of being an actress. But after eight years in the Big Apple, Kindred wanted to come back home.
“I was chasing fame and then I realized that the type of fame I was looking for really didn’t mean anything,” Kindred said. “I looked at my mother’s career, and I looked at how well-loved she is in this town. I thought maybe that’s actually what I am craving in my life — being able to give something to the people who mean something to you.”
After earning her degree, she continued her education as part of the new graduate program at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. She worked in the medical-surgical unit where nurses care for patients who are acutely ill with a wide variety of medical issues or who are recovering from surgery.
“It’s called the trenches because you see everything and learn everything about taking care of surgical patients and patients that stay overnight,” Kindred said. “I really wanted to be in the emergency department, so I got all my certifications and went out to Craig and worked at Memorial Regional Health for a year and a half.”
Two years ago she took a job at Steamboat Emergency Center just about six months after it opened. She said the Emergency Center is prepared and ready to meet the needs of the community at this time, and she is thankful her hometown has not seen an explosion or a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“The goal with social distancing and the quarantine stuff was to not overwhelm our limited resources in our town,” Kindred said. “I actually think that the time we bought ourselves with the social distancing was huge. It was like a month and a half that gave us time to get supplies, to get people trained, and I think actually we’re in really good shape, because we didn’t have that surge and now we are prepared for it.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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