Seven Health Care Workers, Seven Stories

Health care worker in PPE holds heart shaped cookie.

The workers at St. Anne’s Hospital (formerly Highline Medical Center) have been on the front line of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hear from seven St. Anne’s Hospital frontline healthcare workers about their experience during the pandemic. We’re grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of these essential workers, and for their willingness to share their experiences with us.

What was the most hopeful or inspiring part of this experience?

Larissa McQueen, RN – Intensive Care Unit, COVID Unit: When we started discharging patients instead of intubating them. Seeing the skill, ability, proactive [sic], and resourcefulness of our staff.

PJ Amaya, RN – Intensive Care Unit – COVID Unit: Seeing a patient turn around when you have maxed out the O2 and watching them work through their rehabilitation to eventually leave the hospital.

Richard, RN – Intensive Care Unit, COVID Unit: I’ve saved a lot of lives as an ICU nurse but during this experience I feel like I have saved more patients than ever. Our team was very resourceful and improved outcomes by using a lot of what I call basic nursing skills (ambulating, high air flow, incentive spirometer).

Kara Dylan, RN – Intensive Care Unit/Progressive Care Unit: The way the community came together to support us. The EMS thank you parade was amazing

Melissa Stevens, Health Unit Coordinator – Intensive Care Unit: When our very first COVID positive patient discharged 50+ days after admitted.

Amanda Madoulet, Health Unit Coordinator – Emergency Department: The togetherness and oneness of the entire hospital and healthcare professionals everywhere.

Carla Williams, RN – Emergency Department: The community support! The outpouring of equipment, food, cards, signs, and thank you notes.

What was the most unexpected?

Larissa: How long this whole thing has lasted, pulling kids out of school, and everything shutting down.

Richard: I came in with low expectations of saving lives because of what was happening and what we were hearing around the world. I was pleasantly surprised by how many lives we were able to save. There were at least seven patients that were not expected to make it and we just kept pushing and working with them and eventually they went home.

Kara: The way the hospital was able to pull together. It was an “all hands on deck” approach.

Melissa: In the very beginning, when we found out about our first COVID-positive patient and the contact tracing and exposure protocols.

Amanda: Schools closing and how to balance work and being a teacher.

What was the most difficult part of this experience?

Larissa: The families not being able to be with their loved ones. I held a lot of hands of people dying.

PJ: Not being able to personally check in with my family in person to see how they were doing because I was so needed here.

Richard: It’s mentally exhausting. We were working five 12-hour shifts and picking up a lot of additional service duties on the floor, like housekeeping, blood draws, and food delivery to minimize staff exposure to the COVID unit.

Kara: Holding people’s hands while they died with their families [watching] on Zoom.

Melissa: Seeing the people pass away and caring for the families and children they were leaving behind. Walking a family member to see their loved one for the last time.

Amanda: Patients and families not being able to see each other when they are sick.

How do you think your life will be the same or different after this experience?

Larissa: I think everyone’s lives will be different and we will all be more aware of our hygiene habits.

PJ: I have a renewed faith in my job and purpose because I have seen what a difference I can make to people.

Kara: This created an awareness of how a crisis like this can impact so many. It changed my view of how I can support my community and others.

Melissa: Same because it felt like a close team before this and it just solidified that relationship. Different because I see how close our community really is and I appreciate them more.

Carla: I am more aware of hygiene and mask wearing. I will continue wearing it until they make a vaccine.

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