Critical Care Pharmacist, East Alabama Medical Center
How has your line of work been affected by COVID-19?
At the end of March, the hospital where I work started to see a large increase in the number of critically-ill COVID patients. It was extremely challenging because we were treating an illness we had never seen before and our knowledge on how best to treat these patients was frequently changing (often on a daily basis). This required constant research and adapting of our treatment protocols to best care for our patients.
Can you describe the current situation in your workplace?
It is almost mid-July, and unfortunately our numbers of COVID patients are starting to increase again.
What have the last few weeks been like, in your own words?
The last few months have been unlike anything I could have ever imagined.
The large numbers of critically ill patients, the rapidly changing protocols and treatments and the long days have been both physically and emotionally challenging. It has been difficult watching our patients and their families as they go through this difficult time.
How has your home or personal life been affected by the pandemic?
While I was accustomed to dealing with seriously ill patients on a day to day basis, the sheer number of severely ill patients was staggering and more stressful than anything I have ever experienced. At the end of March, my work hours changed temporarily from 8 hour days (40hrs/week) to 11 hour days (7on/7off). During this time, schools closed and my children transitioned to on-line learning. It was difficult putting in long hours at the hospital in a stressful environment and then coming home and trying to make sure my children were staying on track with all of their classes.
How did Auburn prepare you for your current role?
Auburn prepared me for my current role not only through the education I received, but in the words of the Auburn Creed, by teaching me to “believe in work, hard work” and to face the crisis with a “spirit that is not afraid.”
How do you stay positive during these difficult times?
I have stayed positive through my faith, the support of my family and the support from other members of the healthcare team at EAMC. I work with an amazing group of ICU nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and pharmacists that are a constant source of encouragement for me. Our community has also provided support during the difficult times. We had local businesses providing meals, church groups providing snacks and encouraging cards and people from the community parking at the hospital each night to pray for us. We knew we had the community supporting us throughout all of it.