Liza Berger headshot
Liza Berger

There are certain people who manage to find opportunity and meaning in the toughest, most challenging moments. The pandemic has provided ample evidence of such folks.

Just today, a news report revealed that enrollment in baccalaureate nursing programs rose by 6% in 2020 to 250,856. 2020? Wasn’t that the year that so many nurses worked tirelessly, experienced burnout and maybe even got sick from the novel coronavirus? While it’s not clear what is driving the enrollment increase, the desire to make a difference likely has something to do with it. Pretty remarkable, I’d say.

I encountered another feel-good story this week when Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice, a nonprofit based in Lewiston, ME, recounted its experience of becoming a vaccination site.

It certainly was not an easy mission, they conveyed during a National Association for Home Care & Hospice webinar. They had to make the necessary arrangements and secure the proper permissions from healthcare agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among other requirements, they had to prove that they could handle the storage and administration of a vaccine. And in a perhaps more difficult task, they had to overcome the rampant misinformation in the community about the vaccine.

They chose to embark on this journey, in part, because they felt an obligation to do so, explained President and CEO Kenneth Albert and Chief Clinical Officer Leann Sebrey, RN. Unlike the time of the deadly 1918 Spanish flu, when vaccines were unavailable, we live in an era in which vaccines can prevent untold deaths, they explained. They wanted to be part of the solution.

An admirable tale.

In helping to change the tide of history, the Androscoggin agency has made a significant local difference. Back in October, only 46% of their direct care workers said they’d take the vaccine. Currently, 68% of their workforce has taken it.

What’s that saying about making lemonade out of lemons?

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at and follow her @LizaBerger19.