TUAN VU, MD, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VICE CHAIRMAN, ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE FORT WASHINGTON MEDICAL CENTER

Employees from across Adventist HealthCare are serving the community in our response to COVID-19. Here are some of these amazing caregivers and their thoughts about working in healthcare in this unprecedented time.

Dr. Vu leads our team providing emergency care to patients in Fort Washington.

What has it been like to serve on the front lines of COVID-19?

Working in the emergency room (ER) during this crisis has been rewarding and challenging, but also scary. My coworkers and I have seen more death and critical illnesses in the past two months than in the past year. This has been mentally difficult to process. My home life has changed dramatically since the pandemic started. I am concerned that at any time I could be an asymptomatic carrier and could spread it to my family. I bring a change of clothes to work and change out of my contaminated scrubs before going home. Both sets of clothes go into the laundry as soon as I get home. I always try to stay 6 feet away from my wife and kids, and I sleep in the basement bedroom, which right now is for my use only. I am very grateful to my family, who has been very supportive during this difficult time.

What do you want the community to know?

We will always be here for you, but we want you to stay healthy and out of the hospital. Please continue to practice social distancing so we can stop the spread of this disease.

What have you learned about yourself, your teams or your coworkers?

I am proud of the team that we have working in the ER at Fort Washington Medical Center. The nurses and techs are brave, strong, resilient and compassionate. There is a renewed camaraderie among the staff. We are dedicated to our jobs caring for the sick.

 

BEVERLY DESOUZA, RESPIRATORY THERAPIST, ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE WHITE OAK MEDICAL CENTER

Beverly is one of the White Oak hospital team members who treat patients who are having trouble breathing, including those with COVID-19.

What has it been like to serve on the front lines of COVID-19?

My respiratory colleagues and I, including our boss, are exhausted from working long, consecutive shifts. We see patients not only in the ER but in all areas of the hospital. We are constantly, and literally, running from one end of the hospital to the other all day.

How are you feeling?

Honestly, overwhelmed! Thankfully, I am blessed with a very supportive family, so the stress load is reduced.

What do you want the community to know?

We want you to know that we care. We will do everything we can to treat patients to the highest medical standards, while taking precautions to guard against infection to ourselves. We want the community to follow the guidance of our public officials and your doctor or healthcare provider.

What have you learned about yourself, your teams or your coworkers?

We are determined and resilient. There has been a lot of illness, grief and death in a very short period of time – something my coworkers and I have never experienced. As healthcare providers, we must be there for our community because they are depending on reliable caregivers, especially in this situation. Honestly, COVID-19 has taken its toll on us respiratory therapists and continues to do so. Sometimes I don’t even know what day it is, I just get up and go. Despite the challenges we are facing, I do believe together as a team we will be stronger and better at what we do in the future. Let’s pray it ends soon.

 

EMERITA LARIOS, ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES ATTENDANT, ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE WHITE OAK MEDICAL CENTER

Emerita and other members of our Environmental Services teams play a crucial role in cleaning and sanitizing our hospitals.

What has it been like to serve on the front lines of COVID-19?

I’m so blessed to have this opportunity to help out because it makes me feel good. Some people may just see a cleaning lady, but hopefully they understand how important my job is to protect patients and staff in the hospital and work to protect themselves.

How are you feeling?

I thought I was going to feel more scared than I do. The virus is changing every day with different symptoms, but I inform myself and take every precaution that I can. Being in the hospital there is always a risk, but it’s a very important job that I signed up for.

What do you want the community to know?

I want the community to protect themselves by wearing masks and not going places that they do not need to go. I don’t want to be quick to ask people “Hey, where is your mask?” but it’s frustrating because you want to do more. I try to give people in my community as much information as I can to make sure they protect themselves and don’t come to the hospitals with just a cough or allergies, and instead call their doctor first.

What have you learned about yourself, your teams or your coworkers?

A lot of our team members have kids at home so they may be afraid, but I’m so proud of my team because we all come every day. We tackle that fear and help each other. We can’t do it alone, so we rely on each other while still giving the time we need. I see amazing things in the emergency room. People are getting so creative with decorating masks and making things that can relieve the pressure on your head and ears. It really helps you keep a good attitude. One teammate even brought me a bottle of multivitamins. The little things we can do for each other make a big difference.

 

JUDITH METAGUE, RN, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT CHARGE NURSE, ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE SHADY GROVE MEDICAL CENTER

Judith works weekends, serving as a relief charge nurse for Shady Grove’s ER.

What has it been like to serve on the front lines of COVID-19?

In many ways, as a team in the ER, we feel like soldiers on the front lines. Each day, we suit up in our personal protective equipment and head into battle. As an ER nurse, you rely on your education and experience to help any type of patient coming in. However, with COVID-19, we are learning as we go. I feel I have a duty to motivate the team in the morning during huddle. After I give my updates, I always try to end with my pump-up song. There’s nothing like “Thunderstruck” or “Eye of the Tiger” to get the staff motivated! It allows for a good laugh before we step onto the floor and embrace the seriousness of the situation we are facing. At the end of my shift, I look forward to taking my mask off. After more than 12 hours of being covered, the touch of fresh air on your face feels amazing.

How are you feeling?

Serving on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, you experience a mix of emotions: anxiety, fear, sadness, pride. You’re anxious because this is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, and the outcome has been devastating. On the other hand, you’re proud because you are leading the charge to flatten the curve and care for those who have been exposed. Of course, at the end of my shift, I’m also met with some anxiety because I am going home to three babies and a husband who I do not want to infect with this virus. Additionally, I’m praying that the patients I have cared for throughout the day have not become sicker. As a nurse in the ER, you put your heart and soul into the care of a patient. However, when the patient moves to the next level of care, it’s often the last time we get to see them. You can’t help but wonder what happened to them and if you did enough.

What do you want the community to know?

More than anything, I want the Shady Grove community to know that every patient who is treated receives the best possible care. In our ER, we treat your loved ones as if they’re our own. We provide love and extra support while you are unable to be with them. Please continue to stay at home and enjoy the time with your family so that we can end this fight. We cannot thank everyone enough for the love and support you have given us. We read every card and hang up every sign or poster you have sent in.

What have you learned about yourself, your teams or your coworkers?

We really have one another’s backs here when we are on the floor. In the ER, we have always worked as a team, and we have always felt like we are one big family. But there is something special about our camaraderie right now. I think it’s because we know that we are only as strong as our weakest link. And lucky for us, there’s no weak link at Shady Grove’s ER!

 

AMRA NASIR, MD, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE URGENT CARE

Dr. Nasir and her Urgent Care colleagues evaluate patients with symptoms of COVID-19 to help them determine their next steps.

What has it been like to serve onthe front lines of COVID-19?

I was a little anxious in the beginning, but I am very impressed with how well organized Adventist HealthCare has been. Some days are challenging. It’s difficult to see patients struggling with their illness. Like many of my colleagues, I change my clothes in the garage the moment I get home, putting my clothes in the washing machine and leaving my shoes in the garage.

How are you feeling?

Sometimes taking in too much information can be overwhelming for me, so exercise, prayers and meditation are helpful. I am very proud to be on the front lines helping our community and patients. This is such an honorable time to be a doctor. I have gained more wisdom and knowledge, but at the same time it’s very humbling. It is a privilege to serve patients, and I feel I am in the right place at the right time.

What have you learned about yourself, your teams or your coworkers?

I am very blessed to have a great team of staff and providers to support me. We are very strong and resilient, and we truly believe in the mission of Adventist HealthCare. We lean on each other for support and are connected like a family.

 

CECILIA SULLIVAN, ATHLETIC TRAINER, ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE REHABILITATION

When stay-at-home orders were issued, Cecilia was redeployed from her normal role of assisting student athletes to answer Adventist HealthCare’s COVID-19 community hotline.

What has it been like to serve on the front lines of COVID-19?

It has been a humbling experience to see my fellow coworkers and company adapt to such strange and unique circumstances. It has been rewarding to be able to help calm people’s minds and direct them appropriately during this uncertain time.

How are you feeling?

I feel incredibly grateful for my health, friends and family. I also feel helpless that so many people are hurting and suffering. I wish I could take away their pain, but I am focused on doing my part as a citizen and an employee.

What do you want the community to know?

You are not alone in this. We are here to help comfort and educate you with current information.

What have you learned about yourself, your teams or your coworkers?

I have learned I can truly lean on my coworkers. We check in on each other and can talk about our concerns and truly support each other. I have also learned to be grateful for the little things.

A SIGN OF SUPPORT Download, print and display this sign at your home or business to show your appreciation to our caregivers.