Health care heroes: Learning to adapt
In 2020, where everything worldwide has been affected by COVID-19, two things have become clear.
Change is everywhere. Adaptability is key.
That is especially true in the Medical Surgical Unit at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. When the COVID-19 outbreak hit Milwaukee, this unit began treating the patients suffering from the virus’ most severe symptoms.
As a registered nurse, Anna Nicole Stein has seen a lot in nearly four years with Aurora Health Care. So, when she was given the option to opt out of the unit and treat other patients in the facility, it made her pause.
“As a relatively young, healthy individual, I was eager to stay on my unit to work with my team through this uncharted territory,” said Stein. “However, with all the unknowns, I was also filled with worry that I would transmit COVID-19 to my family and those with more risk factors.”
Ultimately, Anna decided to stick with her team. The following months turned into a rollercoaster, with ups and downs that filled her days with constant change on the fly.
For Stein, she had to create a safety sweet spot for herself and her patients. Like others, she began working head to toe in personal protective equipment, or PPE, and had to find new ways to connect with patients. She also had to provide treatment while being mindful of how long she spent in their rooms to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“The team on my unit and throughout Sinai is amazing,” said Stein. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the team has come together to support one another and provide the best care for our patients. Being on the “COVID unit”, we were so lucky to not only have support from each other, our manager and educator but the other units’ staff as well.”
With more being learned about COVID-19 every day, Stein is hopeful that treatments will continue to improve until a vaccine is ready. Until then, she will continue to rely on her family, friends and colleagues to stay strong for her patients.
“I am hoping that people continue to pull together to prevent further spread,” said Stein. “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. This is not permanent.”
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.