Rising to the Challenge of a Global Pandemic
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, South County Hospital opened the Borda Unit, an 11-bed unit dedicated to the growing number of COVID-19 patients. The unit was equipped with negative pressure rooms, personal protective equipment, and emergency medical management supplies. The floor was also staffed with a devoted group of nurses, respiratory therapists, and patient care technicians, with secretarial support.
“Small, but mighty,” are the words Teresa Claeson, Director of Med Surge/Nursing, used to describe the caregivers who willingly stepped up to work in the Borda Unit for the most critically ill COVID-19 patients at South County Hospital. “We built trusted relationships with our coworkers and we became closer than we’ve ever been,” Teresa described. “You’re in it together.” She adds that coworkers are often the only people you could talk to who truly understood.
“Never had we experienced so many critically ill patients in such a short amount of time,” says Heather Petrangelo, Respiratory Therapist. “Challenging” and “rewarding” are the two words she says describe the past two years. But, she emphasizes, “We focused on our wins; we celebrated the patients who got better — and that’s what kept us motivated.”
Emily Evans, Patient Care Technician, described her experience in a single word, “Overwhelming.” She said work days were unpredictable and challenging, and recognized the physical and mental toll on caregivers. “Often, I came home and I was so exhausted I went right to bed,” she said, noting the need for rest and self care.
Bridget Skerry, RN, adds “The disease process was ever changing and each patient responded so differently.” She described her coworkers on the Borda floor as “the best people you will ever work with and the best place you will ever be.” She says she’s never experienced a unit so close where, “everything just works together.”
South County Health recognizes there are hundreds of extraordinary caregivers in multiple units of the hospital as well as at our community locations who uniquely and heroically contributed to the four waves of COVID.