• Julia Hayden

Less Known COVID-19 Health Heroes



Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear various job titles in the hospital.

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and personal support workers are diagnosing, treating, and caring for millions of patients worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. These medical professionals are working tirelessly on the front line to provide the most efficient and effective care and mitigate the spread of this infectious disease. These medical professionals also act as a link between the patient and the rest of the health care team.

The rest of this health care team have roles that may not come to top-of-mind when thinking about the treatment of COVID-19 patients. However, these professions all play a role in the battle and they deserve a spotlight on them. Learn more about the heroes behind the scenes of the COVID-19 pandemic response:

🏆Occupation: Respiratory Therapist

Help People: Who have issues breathing

What They Do:

  • Examine patients with breathing issues and run diagnostic tests to assess oxygen or ventilation needs

  • Measure lung capacity and evaluate blood samples to test oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood

  • Provide oxygen therapy and airway management for patients who need it

During COVID-19:

  • Track COVID-19 patient oxygen levels to assess need for oxygen or ventilation

  • Manage COVID-19 patient breathing with oxygen therapy or ventilation

  • Intubate COVID-19 patients if necessary

🏆Occupation: Registered Dietitian

Help People: who need to maintain or improve their intake of nutrients

What They Do:

  • Interpret science of nutrition to provide advice for people to improve or maintain health through their diet

  • Health promotion and disease prevention education based on nutrition needs and health status

  • Develop nutrition and health communications, programs, and policies to improve population health

During COVID-19:

  • Deliver nutrition, hydration, and medication through feeding tubes for intubated patients or through the veins if necessary

  • Ensure standard feeding protocols for ICU patients to prevent malnutrition or overfeeding

  • Prevent malnutrition as patients recover from COVID-19

🏆Occupation: Pharmacist

Help People: Who need medication to prevent, manage, or treat medical conditions

What They Do:

  • Dispense medications in retail pharmacy or hospital settings

  • Counsel patients on the use of their medication, side effects, interactions, and recommended doses

  • Immunization and medication review services

During COVID-19:

  • Manage prescription orders and maintain medication supply for those requiring medications for any health conditions during this time

  • Recommend medications to treat fever in COVID-19 patients when applicable

  • Screening and information of COVID-19 to patients presenting symptoms

🏆Occupation: Radiologist

Help People: Who need medical imaging to better understand their sickness or condition

What They Do:

  • Interpret medical images such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds

  • Use nuclear medicine to screen for medical conditions using radioactive materials and medical imaging

  • Work with other patient information to help determine diagnosis and treatment plan for the condition or injury

During COVID-19:

  • Medical imaging to help diagnosis COVID-19

  • Medical imaging, such as CT chest scans, to reveal disease progression

🏆Occupation: Social Worker

Help People: Who require services to enhance their daily quality of life

What They Do:

  • Refer services and interventions to remove psycho-social barriers to health and wellness

  • Ensure socioeconomic needs are addressed for all patients

  • Advocate for and empower patients to maintain or improve health and wellness

During COVID-19:

  • Advocating for social services to adapt and remain available in supporting communities and vulnerable populations

  • Support communities affected by and/or fearful of the COVID-19 virus

  • Using tele-health and other technologies to continue to provide essential social services to people in-home

🏆Occupation: Physical Therapist

Help People: Who have a medical condition that limits their ability to move and perform normal daily activities.

What They Do:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction

  • Promote optimal fitness and well-being

  • Services to prevent loss of mobility

During COVID-19:

  • Provide airway clearance techniques for ventilated patients

  • Assist in positioning patients with respiratory issues due to COVID-19

  • Provide mobilization and rehabilitation interventions to COVID-19 survivors to enable functional return to home life

🏆Occupation: Speech Language Pathologist

Help People: With speech, language, and swallowing disorders or delays.

What They Do:

  • Improve speech, language, and voice delays or disorders

  • Completed swallowing and feeding assessments and develop a plan to ensure safety during eating and drinking

  • Helping people improve social communication, problem solving, and reasoning

During COVID-19:

  • Modified clinical swallowing assessments in hospital and long term care

  • Management of swallowing disorders after tubes or respirators used to manage COVID-19 symptoms

  • Using tele-health audio and video technology to continue to assess and treat speech and language needs

🏆Occupation: Patient Transport

Help People: Who need to be transferred to other hospital units

What They Do:

  • Porter patients and patient charts

  • Transport lab samples

  • Clean and disinfect patient use items

During COVID-19:

  • Assist in transport patients to/ from ICU or other recovery units during COVID-19

  • Follow enhanced droplet/ contact precaution during transport

  • Ensure patient items are cleaned and disinfected as necessary

🏆Occupation: Occupational Therapist

Help People: Who need assistance to better engage and participate in their daily activities

What They Do:

  • Treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through therapeutic use of everyday activities

  • Demonstrate exercise to help relieve pain for people living with chronic conditions

  • Recommend and instruct how to use special equipment such as a wheelchair or eating aid

During COVID-19:

  • Develop strategies to help people adapt their assistive devices and technologies to a new work or living environment during the pandemic

  • Use tele-health services to continue to demonstrate activities and exercises to help those living with chronic pain or conditions

  • Encourage individuals in isolation and/or recovering COVID-19 to participate in activities that promote rehabilitation and recovery

🏆Occupation: Medical Laboratory Technologist

Help People: Who need to confirm the diagnosis of a medical condition

What They Do:

  • Use test kits, microscopes, and computer analyzers to get medical test result to help with diagnosis

  • Test biological samples for detection of viruses, parasites, bacteria or fungal infections

  • Ensuring accuracy of lab test results and reporting these results

During COVID-19:

  • Test patients for COVID-19 virus

  • Screen testing health care professionals for COVID-19

  • Ensuring timely and accurate test results during a time of high volume of tests required to be processed

There are many roles in the COVID-19 response. Learning more about these roles allows us to understand what's happening behind the scenes in this fight and appreciate all the heroes making sacrifices every day to care for the those affected by this pandemic.


To all health care workers, worldwide, helping to treat and prevent further spread of COVID-19:


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