Capturing resilience

Story and photos submitted by Heather Patterson in partnership with Andrew Nguyen, Prairie Mountain HAC member.

My name is Heather Patterson and I am an emergency physician and photographer. I have been photographing inside of Calgary’s 5 hospitals for the past 7 months. This wellness focused project reminds hospital workers of the value and impact of our work, and respectfully shares the stories of patients and families.

For me, the human connection with patients and colleagues is why I chose this career and it is what has kept me going during the pandemic. As I photograph, I am able to see with clarity, the importance of kindness and empathy for all those in the hospital – patients and families and also health care workers and non-clinical support staff. This has helped me appreciate the silver lining of the pandemic: teamwork, adaptability, resilience and most of all, a celebration of what we can accomplish when we work together.

See Heather's photos and amazing stories below.

Click here to help us honor, document, and remember the past and inspire hope for the future by sharing your favourite COVID-19 photo.


The Peter Lougheed Emergency Department hallways are filled with messages and pictures from school children in Calgary. Support and messages from the community have brought me joy on the difficult days in the ED.

This image of a senior nurse holding the hand of a patient prior to intubation captures one of the many ways that we support our patients through difficult times.

Vaccination has offered hope and relief to healthcare workers. This photo taken in early January shows an emergency nurse vaccinating and emergency physician.


One of the key times in a resuscitation occurs 5 minutes prior to the patient arrival. Team members coordinate roles and the leader assigns priorities and sets the scene for what will happen during the case. I find images of teamwork in the ED visually staggering – so many people caring for a single individual.


Moving an ICU patient into the prone position (on the stomach) to improve oxygen levels takes a team of 7-12 people. For me, images like this one, emphasize the amazing teamwork that is seen every day in the ICU.

Some of the most meaningful images of this project have been ones of recovery. This patient, who I followed throughout his hospital stay, has since recovered and is at home with his family. His story of recovery has offered health care workers hope and inspiration to keep going during difficult times.


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