High school trainers Lindsey Holder and Nikki Fernandez have traded Ace bandages and ice packs for thermometers and face masks as they have gone from the sidelines to the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holder, who has been a Centerpoint Medical Center employee the past three years, assigned to William Chrisman High School, and Fernandez, a Centerpoint employee for 12 years and a trainer at Truman High School the past 14 years, now ask questions and take temperatures of everyone who enters their screening station at Centerpoint.

Thursday afternoon, Fernandez finished her 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift by handing off her thermometer to Holder, who will take the 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. shift at the northwest door of the hospital.

“It’s a little bit strange,” said Holder, “because this isn’t our world. Nikki and I are used to being around healthy kids who are competing in sports throughout the high school year.”

“Granted, we spend most of our time with them when they are injured, but this was totally new to both of us, but we’re getting accustomed to it, and really enjoying it.”

Fernandez agreed,

“Needless to say, this is certainly the most time I have ever been over here at Centerpoint,” Fernandez said. “I’m getting used to where all the doctors’ offices are and which hallway they’re in.”

“I had a patient come up to me the other day saying she had lost a hearing aid. I called up to Centerpoint Physicians group, because that’s where she was going for her appointment, and I talked to Stacy and she could not have been any more helpful.”

“She looked for the hearing aid, and couldn’t find it, but said if anyone found it, they would get back to me. And that’s really cool. You know, there are days when you get a few grumpy patients entering the hospital, and I totally understand, but situations like that just show we’re all working together.”

Holder has a similar story about a frequent patient she has come to know by name.

“One sweet little lady brought me a purse that was filled with gloves and hand sanitizer, and she told me, ‘Now, I want you to have your own gloves and sanitizer because you are so important to everyone who comes in here.’

“That made my day.”

Their new duties have helped Holder and Fernandez see the pandemic through different eyes.

“This is real, and we have no idea how long it is going to last,” Fernandez said. “At first, it was difficult because I missed my kids over at Truman. And like I said, I never really knew what to expect.”

“But now, pretty much everyone knows what to expect, that they’re going to have to have their temperature taken and asked a few questions. Sometimes, it gets a little hectic, but we’ve pretty much got it all down.”

While Holder misses the sidelines, she is embracing the frontlines.

“Overall, it’s been a positive experience for both of us,” Holder said. “We’re all in this together and want to make it as easy and simple as it possibly can be.”