It takes a whole team
It has taken a lot of doctors, nurses and staff to keep people safe and healthy during the pandemic. Here are just a few of them.
Jaemi Pantti, emergency department paramedic at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette, WI., pitched in by making mass amounts of personal protective equipment for team members. She has made enough masks with HEPA filters to protect the entire emergency department ambulance team when they are not at work. In addition, she takes mask and headband orders from families, and has also made several surgical caps for team members.
Operating Room Nurse Jacque Starzynski used to work in the intensive care unit at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette.
“I have always missed my ICU position,” said Starzynski.
When the pandemic hit and it became clear Marinette was going to be affected eventually, she texted the ICU manager immediately and offered her services.
“Jacque has been helping in our ICU, due to so many nurses being off work due to exposure of COVID-19,” said a team member. “[She] has been very flexible and agreeing to work whenever needed.”
Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette Medical/Surgical RN Anna Wolf brought eggs in to work — straight from her own chickens — for her team members in need after local grocery stores ran out.
Mike Orlando, manager of the Ambulance Department at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area is making team members feel safe just knowing he’s there.
“He has been absolutely instrumental with his participation of the system-wide emergency preparedness team, our local and regional emergency preparedness teams, as well as performing his regular duties as the ambulance manager,” said Chief Nursing Officer Nicole Swanson. “Due to staff openings, Mike also works multiple shifts each pay period as a paramedic. We would not be in the same situation without Mike. I feel so fortunate to have him on our team.”
Orlando admits this is a tough time, but continues to stay positive. He said, “Our team has been diligent to keep up with the day-to-day business of the ambulance service. The group has been faced with many calls that are difficult on a typical day, but now with significant increase in risk to their safety… Every day is a new challenge with new things to learn.”
A recent COVID-19 exposure prevented many respiratory therapy team members from being able to go into work with very short notice. Kerri Jonet, respiratory therapist at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area, jumped immediately into action to help fill gaps, working several long, back-to-back shifts.
“I just made myself available, because I knew the hospital and patients could need me,” said Jonet. “Being a part of the support that these patients require, whether it is for education purposes, breathing treatments, critical times, or just being there for them to talk to and listen to them. I strive to make a difference in our patients’ lives.”
In addition to filling in where she can, Jonet also donated placebo inhalers and an inhaler sheet that determines which inhalers are steroids to the education coordinator.
“This entire time, Kerri has maintained a positive attitude, as well as a smile on her face,” said Chief Nursing Officer Nicole Swanson. “Her reassurance was very comforting during a stressful time.”
Kathy Monkevich, operating room nurse at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette, Wis., was happy to take on extra shifts to help during the pandemic. But when she found out the emergency department (ED) was short staffed, she didn’t hesitate to temporarily switch departments either.
“I have many years of ED experience, and it just seemed to be the right thing to do,” said Monkevich. “They have all been very welcoming to me.”
Since assisting in the ED for the time being, she has been working an average of 50-hour weeks, but her actions have been a tremendous relief to the ED manager. Her positive attitude and flexibility are invaluable to her team members.
About the Author
Brianna Wunsch, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Aurora Health with a BA in public affairs from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.