Joshua Settle ’07
How has your line of work been affected by COVID-19?
COVID-19 has greatly affected our daily work and life. From everyone wearing masks 100% of the day and having all meetings virtually to mitigating critical drug shortages, every day brings new and unexpected challenges.
Our pharmacy team works diligently to evaluate new information and data which is released almost daily and uses that information to determine potential changes to patient therapy. Although losing a patient comes with a great sadness, there is a great sense of joy knowing our work helps another patient overcome this terrible illness. Working through the COVID-19 pandemic has truly been an exciting time to be in healthcare, as we have had to rapidly adapt to daily changes while working in multidisciplinary groups to determine the best possible treatment options for our patients, knowing this will forever impact their lives. This is something we never expected to see in our lifetimes, and truly hope we do not have to deal with again; if we do, we know we will rally together for our patients again.
Can you describe the current situation in your workplace?
Currently, we have a very large number of COVID-19 positive patients, and our hospital staff has continued to work tirelessly to care for our patients. As the number of positive patients have increased, we remain diligent with our preventative processes and continue to find ways to ensure our patients are receiving the best possible care.
What have the last few weeks been like, in your own words?
I would describe the last few weeks as a whirlwind. We felt the initial panic as our number of positive patients increased rapidly. As the weeks went by, we continued to gain a greater understanding and are no longer surprised by some of the effects of this disease and are better prepared to treat the patients. It now feel as though we are settling into more of a comfort level with this disease and have a fairly solid plan for care, which is wonderful as it greatly decreases the stress and anxiety that comes along with treating a novel disease.
How has your home or personal life been affected by the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes in our daily lives. Most of these changes have become routine now. When I get home from work, I change my clothes in the garage, wipe my personal items such as my keys and phone with cleaning wipes, and wash my hands before I come in contact with my children. I do not take my children with me to stores, and my family has not gathered with friends to do the best we can to stay safe. I do not view this as being afraid of the disease but instead doing our best to decrease our risk.
How did Auburn prepare you for your current role?
I believe my time at Auburn has played an integral role in preparing me for my current role. Outside of providing didactic training in pharmacy practice, my experiences at Auburn taught me to be open to new ideas, to be compassionate and to advocate for others you might be able to help.
How do you stay positive during these difficult times?
There have been a few things that help me stay positive. First, I enjoy hearing the song that is played over the hospital intercom every time a COVID-19 positive patient is discharged or moved out of the ICU. This is a daily reminder that the work we are doing is changing people’s lives for the better. Secondly, I see our hospital staff growing closer as we all work long and hard hours together for a common goal – to take care of our patients.