Thankful for community support in flattening the curve
As we have waited with baited breath to see the flattening of the curve in relation to COVID-19, it is ironic to me that I, too, am flattening the curve in relation to my healthcare career. With 41 years working as a nurse at Jefferson Medical Center, my career has truly peaked, or one might say I reached the highest level on the bell curve, with the outbreak of this pandemic. As with most folks, never in my lifetime have I seen or experienced anything like this. For me, the rest is downhill until I coast to the flattened surface!
When my family and friends ask me about working during this stressful time, I can honestly say I am proud and grateful that I can contribute. After all, this is what most of us in healthcare signed up for — we want to keep our communities healthy. An adrenaline rush occurs when involved in figuring out what best to do for our patients, our providers, our staff and the community at large. I am no longer on the frontline of nursing, but rather one of those who now strive to make the frontline better for healthcare providers.
Although I now hold a nursing leadership position, in comparison to my earlier years at bedsides, it is important to give a shout out to the stellar leadership exhibited by WVU Medicine System in general under Dr. Albert Wright (President and CEO West Virginia Health Systems). However, more specifically and locally covering Berkeley Medical Center and Jefferson Medical Center: Mr. Anthony Zelenka (president and CEO), Samantha Richards (vice president and chief nursing officer) and Dr. Matthew Simmons, (infectious disease specialist). Through their leadership and guidance, the Eastern Panhandle kept ahead of the curve and kept our organizations maximally ready to accept and treat COVID-19 patients with compassionate care. There are so many more key leadership folks that I could and should mention, but it would take up this entire editorial.
I have had the privilege to work on the inside of the crisis at the hospital, and to observe all staff at every level and department of the organization working together to combat this pandemic. Seeing and feeling (you know that feeling down deep in the gut) the community support of healthcare workers, EMS, ambulance and air transport and police, through kind thoughts shared in-person and on social media posts, signs posted throughout neighborhoods, sidewalk chalk writings, newspaper articles, blown car horns, personal protective equipment donations and the mounds of food to feed healthcare workers from local restaurants has been soul-stirring.
When we think of curves in a physical sense of our bodies, most of us would like to have those curves just in the right places. However, in this pandemic we need to get back to the flat of the bell curve and to the healthy. I do not know about you, but the first place I sought this was on my knees in prayer, and then to the knowledge, good works and compliance of all throughout the world. Thank you for listening to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing recommendations, staying at home and taking care of each other. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Hopeful. God Bless You.
Linda Blanc, BSN RN, is the administrative director of Patient Care Services at WVU Medicine Jefferson Medical Center. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.