COVID Frontlines

Keith Matthews ’09 (MSN, FNP ’14)

By September 18, 2020 No Comments
Keith Matthews '09

Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner — Unity Wellness Center

Opelika, Ala.

 

How has your line of work been affected by COVID-19?

I work at an HIV clinic at which I also do primary care. Since many of our patients are immunocompromised, we stopped seeing patients in clinic for the most part. I did a lot of telemedicine visits (appointments over the phone) which allowed for continued engagement in care. Because I am a nurse practitioner, I have also helped with screenings at East Alabama Medical Center for people entering the building.

Can you describe the current situation in your workplace?

Currently, we have started seeing patients back in office but with certain restrictions in place: no congregating in the lobby, mask are required so we offer them to all who come in if they do not have one, minimizing patient flow within the clinic to decrease potential COVID spread, and maintaining social distancing amongst the employees. As a NP, I have started mixing in office visits with telemedicine visits which has helped patients who have fallen out of care start to re-engage with their treatment plan.

What have the last few weeks been like, in your own words?

The past few weeks have been crazy to say the least. Seeing how different people respond to the pandemic and quarantine has been eye opening and helped me be more empathetic to others who respond differently from me. Moreover, the growing national divide has been saddening and frustrating at times as I’ve seen people lose jobs, make wild claims and accusations, and become more and more inward focused. But at the same time, I have seen many people be more generous and find ways to help those who are in need.

How has your home or personal life been affected by the pandemic?

It was manageable at the start of the pandemic. EAMC had a travel ban in place for employees since we were essential to caring not just for COVID patients but also the patients coming in for other complications and health conditions. It did wear on me after about 2 months because the routine becomes repetitive and wore me down mentally. But recently, the travel ban was lifted so I was able to leave Auburn and go see my loved ones which helped ease a lot of the anxiety that was starting to build.

How did Auburn prepare you for your current role?

Auburn prepared me to look at scientifically backed and not jump on every article shared on social media. I spent a lot of time looking at articles from different sources but the ones I have shared were medically verified to show the evolution of what we have come to understand about COVID.

How do you stay positive during these difficult times?

Taking regular breaks from social media has been great for keeping my sanity! It’s easy to get caught up in a lot of what is posted so I do my best to not get drawn into thoughts or posts. I also enjoy playing guitar, hiking, and catching up with friends. My faith has also helped keep me positive during this as I spent time reading my Bible, lots of time in prayer, and finding ways to bless others.