Novant nurse comes out of retirement to help with pandemic

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Forsyth County nurse just weeks into her retirement has returned to work to take some of the strain off of her former co-workers. 

It’s through an initiative called Operation All In. More than 2,000 Novant Health team members are volunteering their time to help with the pandemic–including some employees who came out of retirement.  

“I immediately wanted to help,” said registered nurse Sharon Clayton. 

Caring for others comes naturally to Clayton. 

“As a nurse, I’ve always had that desire to work with people in any way that I could,” she said.

Clayton spent 45 years at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center as a registered nurse. She retired this past October. Two months later, she got a call from her former employer asking her to help take some of the strain off of frontline workers. 

“I saw this as an opportunity that I could give back to the hospital and my team members and assist with that,” Clayton said. 

Within a couple of weeks she was working at Novant Health’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic, vaccinating former co-workers and people at high risk of getting the virus.  

“I’ve been excited about being able to go back to work. I’ve wanted to help in any way that I could with the staff there. It’s been really rewarding to see former teammates and hospital employees come through to get their vaccines and that I can chat with them and see them again,” Clayton said.

In her more than four decades of nursing, she never imagined we’d be one year into a global pandemic, and she’d be called out of retirement. 

But one thing has remained the same. 

“Being hands on and talking to the people and caring about them and showing that you care. That part hasn’t changed,” Clayton said. 

She’ll continue to care for everyone until COVID-19 is under control since being a caregiver holds a special place in her heart. 

“I think just a lot of dedication and caring about people, wanting to help them to feel better and to get better,” Clayton concluded. 

She told FOX8 she plans to work another six months.

It all depends on how many people can get vaccinated and where the COVID-19 numbers are at that time. 

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