In northern Sweden, Markus Nordqvist of Boliden sprang into action to help Skellefteå Hospital’s chemical laboratory as the coronavirus began straining the healthcare industry.
During the pandemic onset, International Copper Association member Boliden immediately prioritized employee health and safety and placed extended policies, such as taking a leave of absence.
Located in Skelleftehamn, Boliden’s Rönnskär is one of the largest copper smelters in the world. Normally, Markus works as a laboratory technician at the rapid analysis center at Rönnskär’s laboratory, but he immediately took action when he saw Boliden’s policy.
Markus was the first Rönnskär employee to apply for a leave of absence and wanted to strengthen the healthcare industry during the pandemic.
Things then moved quickly. Just an hour after he sent off his e-mail, the head of laboratory medicine at Skellefteå Hospital called him and said: “When can you start?” Since April 15, Markus has been working at the hospital’s chemical laboratory.
“I am a qualified biomedical analyst and can work in hospital laboratories. I already have experience with the equipment used to analyze blood samples—this was my chance to help and brush up on my knowledge,” says Markus.
Markus does not analyze the COVID-19 samples as those are analyzed elsewhere. Still, he is standing in for the laboratory’s regular staff, processing much needed bloodwork analysis. He is the only laboratory staff from outside the hospital, lending his expertise and time.
“They are really grateful that I came to help. There’s a lot of overtime and extra shifts at the moment because a lot of the staff are off sick. Perhaps more people will come from other companies later on.”
Markus has three months’ leave and expects to be back at Rönnskär’s laboratory at the end of August.
“Then, we will see if the hospital still needs people and if Boliden is still granting leave.”
His managers at Rönnskär have positively supported him, and although he is missed, Markus has received encouragement and heard: ‘We’ll sort it!’
“It’s really great that Boliden has embraced something like this. At the rapid analysis center I work shifts. At the hospital I only work during the day. Boliden makes up the pay difference. That’s really a great signal from the employer.”
For Markus, there was never any doubt that he would step in to help and glad to have his family and his employer support his decision. He feels good to have the opportunity to do his bit when needed and help his local community. He continues to urge others to take the opportunity to help.
Click here to learn how ICA’s members, such as Boliden, have stepped up during the global pandemic.