Mary Free Bed nurse on working Christmas: “We’re their family”

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Even though it’s Christmas, that doesn’t stop many people from working today, including a group that’s been stepping up all year long: health care workers.


Janel Schroder is a registered nurse at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids. She says even though she’s working on this holiday, she’s glad she’s able to play her part and help.


“Especially with COVID, they don’t have anyone else here. They can only have one visitor, so we’re their friends and we’re their family and we’re the only people that they get to see,” said Schroder.

At the end of a tough year for health care workers, Schroder says one word comes to her mind: grateful.

“Just trying to stay positive and support them in every way that we can,” said Schroder.

While many people are spending time at home with family this Christmas Day, Schroder is at work doing what she does best: caring for her patients.

“I’m thankful to be here, to be able to support my patients because rehab doesn’t stop on the holidays and they’re making progress every single day, so to continue that on a holiday is such a blessing,” said Schroder.

Schroder says it has been a non-traditional day at the hospital.

“We’ve had lots of people getting packages and mail, which is really fun,” said Schroder.

Schroder says she’s required to work every other holiday, with this year being her first time on Christmas. However, she says she feels appreciated even if not at home.

“I’m just showing up doing my job and everyone’s giving us treats and candy and just the love and support that we need to not be with our families as well. It’s just really nice,” said Schroder.

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