MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — In a Positively Carolina story, a simple thank you can mean so much.
Tidelands Health and several area churches will be paying tribute to healthcare workers who are working the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic with a prayer vigil.

Although the vigil is not open to the public, it’s a way to offer encouragement to healthcare workers outside of the hospital. COVID-19 cases and hospitalization numbers continue to surge. The vigil will take place at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. It is all in an effort to cheer on, pray and offer inspirational messages to healthcare workers who are working continuously to save lives during these difficult and challenging times.

“It’s starting to get rough again, to the point where we are all hands on deck all working as a team and trying to keep everything kind of safe and stable for our patients and for ourselves,” critical care unit nurse Samantha Saunders said.

Many nurses around the world are making huge personal sacrifices to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes nurses right here on the Grand Strand.

Samantha Saunders is a critical care nurse at Tidelands Health Waccammaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet.

“For me as a nurse, it’s not just taking care of someone physically but also emotionally and that is a beautiful gift to give to someone,” Saunders said.

She said her passion for wanting to help make a difference in a person’s life is what makes her love her job as a nurse.

“As a nurse, I thought I was just going to be maintaining somebody’s vitals and keeping them safe but now I am holding somebody’s hand and being there for them in a time where their families cannot be there with them,” Saunders said.

She said she’s even treated coronavirus patients. Other medical professionals have found themselves working in departments they never practiced in before, learning new routines and protocols as they go.

“Normally, our stroke administrator who is now working on the unit is just helping and giving an extra hand,” Saunders said.

Saunders said it’s all hands on deck for her and the rest of her team, as they work to continue saving lives and keeping their patients safe. Saunders added with the delta variant, she is seeing younger patients being hospitalized with COVID and wants to urge everyone to get a vaccine.

“These patients have no history, they are not taking any medications, they are younger. They are coming in and facing things they thought they never would butted to if you have that opportunity to get that vaccine, please do so because we, we see it and the difference it’s making,” Saunders said.