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'This is temporary, you know we’re going to get through it' | Two SIUE grads help battle COVID-19

Battle-tested on the soccer field for years, the two are now braving a pandemic as registered nurses two years removed from college

ST. LOUIS — “I keep trying to remind myself and remind her that this is all sort of temporary,” Caroline Hoefert, a registered traveling nurse said.  

From teammates at the age of 12, to friendly rivals in high school, Hoefert and Lindsey Fencel have built an incredible bond.

“She’s been there for me and I’ve been there for her,” Hoefert said.

After high school, the two decided to join forces at Southern Illinois University — Edwardsville, where they would both eventually ended up as nursing majors.

Battle-tested on the soccer field for years, the two are now braving a pandemic as registered nurses two years removed from college. Something Hoefert said she least expected.

“No, no I definitely did not, definitely being a younger nurse it’s a little overwhelming,” Hoefert said. “I mean it’s overwhelming for everyone.” 

Hoefert who worked at Sarah Bush Lincoln Medical center said she only dealt with a few positive coronavirus patients. But for her best friend, Fencel, who works in St. Louis on the front lines, it’s the complete opposite.

“It’s a little crazy what she’s dealing with right now,” she said.   

That’s why when things get a little stressful for the two, Hoefert may think back to their college playing days, and the important life lessons they learned.  

“I think if anything it gave me a lot of good experience because as a nurse you have to juggle a lot of things as well,” Hoefert said.

Another life lesson Hoefert said she learned from playing soccer, was to always be a good teammate, which translates perfectly into the nursing field. Although Hoefert and Fencel work completely different shifts, Hoefert makes sure to pick up or respond whenever her friend needs her, and she’s always there to remind her.

“This is temporary, you know we’re going to get through it, it’s going to be fine, things will come back to normal eventually, it’s just temporary,” Hoefert said that’s her massage to Fencel and other nurses trying to cope with these tough times.

Hoefert said once the coronavirus comes to an end, the two hope to be teammates again, this time as traveling nurses.

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