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After caring for her sick grandfather, this Bangor nurse knew she'd found her calling

Kristina Wheaton knew she wanted to either be a nurse or a teacher. When she was in high school, she helped care for her grandfather who had cancer.

BANGOR, Maine — As we continue honoring the nurses in our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, we focus on a nurse who got into the field after helping take care of her grandfather when she was only in high school.

Kristina Wheaton has been a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bangor for 14 years. Wheaton, originally from Millinocket, works in the emergency department.

She said she remembers growing up and wanting to either be a teacher or a nurse. But when she was in high school, she lost her grandfather to cancer.

She wrote her college admission essay on the experience.

"I felt like if I can get through that and help take care of him, I can do anything," Wheaton said.

Caring for others comes naturally to Wheaton and, during the age of the coronavirus, it's no different. Although it may look different.

"We might all look like we're scary with these masks and headgear and everything," she said.

Wheaton added that these are safety precautions put in place by the hospital, to keep patients and staff safe.

St. Joseph's staff are even wearing hospital-issued scrubs, to be sure not to take anything home to their families.

One of Wheaton's coworkers is Andrew Donovan, an infectious disease specialist. He said his position is typically in the background unless something like this happens.

"And that's when the opportunity really arrises to show what it is that we do," he said. "My job is to purely support the work that they're doing."

While this is a crazy and stressful time for many, Wheaton wants to remind us all to do good in the world.

"Look at the good, you know. Every negative thing that you see, there's always somebody good out there. Look for the people that are doing good things and be that person," she said.

People like Donovan, Wheaton, and so many other nurses, first responders, and all the other essential workers keeping things going during the coronavirus pandemic.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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