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Navigating Through COVID-19 As An Organization

It’s one thing to captain a ship and crew along the coast under blue skies and over calm seas when everyone can see the port ahead. But it is quite another to head into a storm that no one saw coming and get tossed about. You don’t know how big the storm is or how long it will last … or whether you will survive.

When tensions are high, and fear and anxiety are pumping adrenaline into everyone, and everyone on the ship has their own opinions as to what to do next – that’s the true test of a captain and crew. Will it be all hands on deck? or mutiny?

Now that the storm clouds are breaking, at least for a while, and the seas seem a bit more navigable, I’ve asked, “It seems that we’ve survived, even thrived through this crisis; what did we do right?” So in their own words:

"Many of our colleagues filled new roles, solved problems, and sacrificed for the greater good of our small community. This happened all over the MHCC organization from the café to housekeeping, from the operating rooms to childcare, and from maintenance to senior leadership. I cannot be prouder of everything we did in the beginning to prepare and to keep each other safe." - Michelle Nice

"I think the thing we did the best was we took care of our employees first and foremost. Where many places were furloughing staff our staff were safe and provided for. I am grateful that my team didn’t have to worry about having a job." - Felicia Smith

"We in housekeeping feel like leadership kept us, the ones that worked, and the ones who were sent home, safe and informed." - Donna Rouse

"I love how we welcomed community support by accepting homemade masks and donations and made efforts to get thank you cards to all donors! Also, how we donated/distributed hand sanitizer to businesses in our community!" - Amy Cullen

"Worked together, increased trust, offered generosity to staff." - Cristy Cobb

"The best thing MHCC did while entering this crisis was prepare, and act, with seriousness regarding the safety of as many people as possible. Taking the steps the hospital did to reduce volumes of people, both patients and otherwise, not only reduced the probability of infection, but GREATLY reduced the compounding effect that infection, especially one caused by a relatively highly contagious virus, can have on a population. The best medicine is prevention, and that is exactly what MHCC strove to accomplish".- Matt Ammons

"I think as a hospital and as a community we pulled together to prepare for the COVID crisis. As an employee I want to express how blessed I felt and still feel to be part of this hospital family. When this pandemic started to become serious I began to worry about my job and my financial income as I am the only wage-earner in my family with 5 kids. I was very stressed. I am responding today to express how well I was taken care of during all of this by our hospital. Not only were we provided with proper PPE and daily updates but we were also accommodated with hours and pay. I am very thankful to work for such a great facility who cares about their employees as well as providing the community with so many resources during this time. Obviously nobody was really prepared for this but in a nutshell I feel that we as a whole did a FANTASTIC job!!!!!" - Nichole Pence

"After reading this, all I could think of was, we all cared enough! We cared enough to work overtime, we cared enough to wear our mask and gloves, and we cared enough to implement new safety guidelines ... My list can go on, and on. Thank you for doing this!! ☺" - Sheri Burns

"I think it was humbling that people all pitched in and took pay cuts in some way to help out. That was probably one of the biggest “We’re all in this together” gestures I’ve ever been a part of. Sitting in the 10 o’clock today and hearing the senior team’s ideas about the annual raise and wanting to do as much as they can for the employees to show how grateful they are for everyone’s hard work and flexibility -- it’s pretty awesome that we are cared for so much by our employer. I am just appreciative to have a job right now. We didn’t have to lay people off, and that is pretty great and very people-centered. No one here got sick with COVID (as far as I know) -- that’s pretty incredible and says we took a lot of the right steps early. I don’t think there is anything that happened during this that made me ashamed or upset to be a part of what we have here at MHCC." - Toni Skaggs

"The Covid-19 crisis has been an unprecedented event in world history. It has led to the loss of many lives and caused record unemployment and tremendous despair. MHCC has pulled together through this crisis to keep as many people working as possible and to maintain as much “normalcy” as can be expected during such a pandemic.

I have personally observed employees working in different job capacities that they are not normally accustomed to. Administration worked extremely hard to provide opportunities to keep people on the payroll.

Employees seemed happy and willing to serve in whatever capacity was needed to keep the hospital services open:

  • Cafeteria workers continued to provide wonderful meals.
  • Maintenance set up a fantastic RIC (Respiratory Infection Clinic) and constructed a negative pressure section for Covid patients.
  • Housekeeping worked overtime to maintain a clean and sanitary facility.
  • Frontline healthcare workers worked hard providing telemedicine care for their patients.
  • Community volunteers crafted masks to protect healthcare workers and patients.
  • Cultural services provided emotional and spiritual support during these stressful times.
  • Nurses and doctors put their lives on the line to care for sick patients and put themselves in potential harm’s way to provide compassionate care.
  • Supply workers worked hard to acquire and conserve PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • Surgeons continued to provide surgeries whenever possible.
  • Administrators and providers willingly took pay cuts to help shore up hospital revenue.

Throughout all of this, everyone has tried extremely hard to do whatever it takes to keep Memorial Hospital productive and providing its usual compassionate care. I have been so impressed with everyone’s efforts and willingness to sacrifice whatever it took to keep our healthcare family and facility healthy and productive. It has been a pleasure to serve alongside all of the MHCC family during this crisis." - Dr. Burk Young