On Feb. 24, the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), who have seen COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began, shared their journey on Hometown Healing. Myra Thompson, the nurse manager of the MICU at VMC, said it is a part of daily life for those on her unit.
“We can’t get away from it,” she said. “It doesn’t go away. It is in my head all the time, whether I’m here or not.”
Thompson said it has been difficult to be away from family, friends and loved ones during the pandemic, but it is necessary to keep them safe. She said she does not want to be the one who could possibly spread the virus to a loved one because she works with so many infected patients.
She said some days don’t even feel real when working on the unit with all she sees. But she knows there is work that needs to be done and people who need help.
“We have families too and we have things we are worried about at home and all kinds of other things and we come here,” Thompson said, “we are expected to put that aside and do what we do. It’s more than being a hero for working in this unit.”
For Thompson, having a team to go through the daily challenges with makes things better. The team has also benefited from a tranquility room on the unit, where they can take a break away from the unit and have a moment to breathe.
Another source of inspiration and hope for brighter days ahead, comes from the community.
“Just love us. Motivate us. It’s the hardest work that we’ve ever done, and we do it well,” she said. “Just don’t give up on us. Please wear your mask, please wash your hands. Please stay home unless you have to be out. Just keep loving and supporting us.”
Behind the teams directly working with patients to keep everyone safe during the pandemic is the Environmental Services Team (EVS). This group of team members was recognized on Feb. 23 for their efforts throughout the pandemic.
Natashia Scott, the EVS manager at VMC, along with about 265 other team members, work behind the scenes every day to ensure doctors, nurses, patients, visitors and everyone who enters the hospital doors are as protected as possible from the virus.
It is not a job without risks.
“We disinfect and clean patient areas in the hospital to make sure it is clean and conducive for our patients,” Scott said. “We have to touch every surface, like walls, and we have to take the curtains down. We’re touching every high-touch surface like light handles and door handles.”
COVID-19 fundamentally changed how the team had to do their jobs. She said what used to be a 30-minute job can now take an hour.
The pandemic also brought more technology to the team.
“We introduced solaris, which is a UV disinfect tool. It ensures all of the surfaces that we might not get are penetrated, sanitized and disinfected,” Scott said.
She said she knows it is a scary thing, to go into a room and clean room that a COVID-19-positive patient has been in. But with a community and hospital relying on them, they step up to get the job done.
Scott said as a manager, it is important that she stands with her team and makes them feel comfortable during challenging times. Her team is working together to help a community.
“Our housekeepers are the real heroes. None of this would be possible without them,” Scott said.