LONDON, ONT. -- To deal with the COVID-19 pandemic overload the London Health Sciences Centre has called in backup from their retirement lists.

“I drove home after my first shift Monday night and I said to myself, I do not believe how much I have missed nursing,” says Deborah Denton, who retired from LHSC 11 months ago. “I guess once a nurse always a nurse.”

Denton has joined Joanne Kelly-Nichols, who retired eight months ago, at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Oakridge Arena in London.

“I worked H1N1 and I worked through SARS so I know what my [Intensive Care Unit] colleagues are going through, so it was an easy decision,” says Kelly-Nichols

However Kelly-Nichols says this time it’s different.

“I think volumes are different now and just this whole set up and the way we're screening and the pandemic is very different than what we went through before.”

Both women say being back is part of giving back.

Kelly-Nichols says, “They might take away our licence [after retirement], but they can't take away the nurse that's in you for 41 years.”