I am the Operational Lead in the Emergency Department at Parkview Hospital Randallia in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My role is both in management and also at the bedside. In the very beginning, every day, there would be a new process of managing patients coming to the ED. It was overwhelming as there were so many unknowns and so many questions. How would we rule out patients? Where would we place COVID potential patients when we only had a select number of negative airflow rooms? Would we even have enough rooms? Making sure all of my staff had the appropriate PPE and enough of it. Making sure the department had enough equipment to care for patients and would it be readily available.
Staying on top of the countless meetings and emails, to ensure the department was up to date with the current information passing down from Incident Command. We trialed many processes, even to where it would change multiple times a day. Being able to relay this information onto staff quickly, was a challenge – my manager and I started doing daily videos – reaching not only our own department but many other departments as well. That way, everyone knew exactly, each day, what was happening in the department.
From a bedside standpoint, I would assist my staff with the care of the patients coming in – going from room to room, helping in any way possible. Even on days with helping from the outside of the room. Which this eventually became a must – we needed to conserve as much PPE as possible. Being able to be the “runner” from the outside, to lessen the amount of times staff was going in and out of patient rooms, some days, was the biggest help.
There were days, leaving work, it took all I could, not to break down. Feeling like I hadn’t done enough. Feeling like I could have done better, done something different. Countless nights lying awake, thinking about what the next day would bring. How could I make a difference? How could I make things better for my staff? Am I doing enough to ensure my staff stays safe?
Seeing the support from our community was rewarding. Receiving countless meals, homemade masks, gift cards. Even a parade that involved police, buses, and local residents with Thank You signs. Just so many wonderful and appreciative things. Our community definitely likes to make sure our bellies are full! Parkview even turned our cafeteria into a small grocery store. Helping employees with childcare when schools closed. Even assisting with different housing for staff that was high risk and couldn’t go home to risk exposing increased risk family members.
Wearing glasses or contacts during this pandemic definitely has its challenges. Wearing glasses presents its own difficulties with wearing a mask as your glasses constantly get fogged up. With contacts, making sure my hands are EXTRA clean and disinfected before inserting or removing my contacts every day.
To win, yes, receiving free LASIK would be a HUGE bonus and I would be eternally grateful! However, just being chosen as a winner would mean something completely different. I’m not just representing myself in this contest, I’m representing my Randallia ED team. I wouldn’t be able to even be a finalist if it weren’t for the fact that I am part of such a fantastic team! Giving a little shout out to my ED staff – you are all absolutely amazing! Your ability to adapt and overcome all of these challenges this past couple of months was and continues to be, spectacular! I am truly honored to work alongside each and every one of you!
I am also incredibly honored and grateful that I was chosen as a finalist. I know there were many others that had been submitted, that are just as deserving to be considered as I am. I want to thank each and every single essential worker out there – both healthcare and non-healthcare. We are all in this together!