Medical ICU Physician Assistant, ChristianaCare, Newark, Delaware
“I’ve worked in the medical ICU for almost 12 years. A lot of changes came with the COVID-19 pandemic. … You’re constantly reading new articles and shifting your treatment paradigm. In critical care, you’re always having conversations about goals of care. When every conversation with a family member is over the phone and they can’t see their loved one—that’s been really hard, harder than I thought it would be, especially since some of the patients we have cared for have tragically passed. You hear the desperation in the family members’ voices. All they have is you, telling them what’s happening. … Our entire unit is COVID-19. We haven’t seen a normal ICU patient in six weeks. … Three or four advance practice providers are scheduled every day, part of a multidisciplinary team: the APP or the resident, the intensivist, the bedside nurse, respiratory therapy, pharmacy. We have a whole fleet. … When we’re having a rough day, we talk to each other about it. The hospital has a number of different resources available for us. And in weekly team meetings, we talk out anything that’s going on. We also try to focus on the positive moments—like when we have a good outcome. We share the news, we celebrate it; the positive moments can really carry you through darker ones. … Never in my life have I been thanked so much for being a healthcare worker. Our walls in the ICU are covered with pictures and signs that children have sent to us. I have not had to bring a meal to work in a month; every meal is donated by someone. My coworkers have had strangers buy them gas, buy them coffee. So many things have happened over the past six weeks that have made me see the good in people. … When you go into health care, it’s a life of service, but you get so much more in return than you ever put back. You don’t expect anything like this. But I think it’s a testament to what humans can do when we’re faced with adversity and how strong we can be when we come together. I know we’re going to get through it.”
As told to Janice Fisher
May 1, 2020
Digest, the magazine for alumni and friends of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, is published by the Office of Marketing and Communications. The magazine reports on osteopathic and other professional trends of interest to alumni of the College’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and graduate programs at PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia.