Healthcare systems and political leaders have been sounding the call for medical professionals to offer aid during the COVID-19 health crisis. Even retired nurses and physicians have been asked to provide whatever help they can. Many have responded with selfless valor — knowing full well the kind of risks they face.
Clinicians in the corporate world are no exception. Some of these professionals are choosing to volunteer their time and medical skills in their spare hours, after fulfilling the responsibilities of their day jobs. SimpliFi’s Clinical Director, Dawne A. Southworth, was already taking a weekly shift at her local Emergency Department (ED) prior to the arrival of COVID-19. When the crisis began, she started working longer hours to provide more support to the hospital and its team.
We spoke with her about what her experience has been like.
What prompted you to jump back into scrubs and get on the front lines?
Since becoming a Clinical Director at SimpliFi, I have stayed in a per diem capacity in the ED that I have worked in for the past five years. I typically would only pick up four hour shifts one night a week to keep my skill set up. When the pandemic started, I felt compelled to work longer hours to support my community and ED team. I have committed to working a 16-hour shift every Saturday. The position I have been working is in the COVID screening tent. This position screens patients coming in to the ED for COVID symptoms and directs their care/precautions based on their responses.
What did you see, learn, and experience?
I have learned that COVID-19 does not discriminate based on age and health status. It is critical for people to social-distance and do their part to help flatten the curve. I am blessed at the facility I work in because we have very supportive leadership and adequate PPE. I do not feel as though I am at increased risk due to lack of supplies as we are hearing on the news about other places in the United States.
How is this impacting your day-to-day job?
I think that staying at the bedside makes me a better Clinical Director. I am able to relate with the struggles of our clients and nurses from first-hand experiences. When I talk to nurses who are scared to go to a facility, I am able to talk to them as someone who is also working on the front line during this pandemic and put their concerns at ease.
Celebrating Our Healthcare Heroes
We are incredibly proud of professionals like Dawne, as well as our other Clinical Director, Ivvy Yong, who are able to lend their time and expertise to local hospitals. We will remain strong throughout this crisis by working together. We salute all healthcare workers and are doing our best to provide as much support to them as possible.
To learn more about how you can help nurses and health care workers right now, head to the ANA, Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses website for more information.