In the media and in communities across the country, front line healthcare providers in hospitals have been celebrated, recognized and thanked for their ongoing contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this week, during National Hospital Week (May 9 – 15), we take a moment not only to honor those providers’ expertise and dedication, but also to recognize the professionalism and commitment of employees across the hospital who are just as vital to patient care.
“When people talk about healthcare heroes, that makes us all feel good, but there are a lot of heroes whose pictures you never saw,” says William Mills, M.D., chief medical officer for Upper Allegheny Health System, a CompleteRx client. “That includes departments like laboratory, X-ray, pharmacy and environmental services. These people aren’t the ones you saw taking care of hundreds of patients or getting the first COVID-19 immunizations, but without them, we wouldn’t be successful.”
It takes a village
There are more than 20 million healthcare workers in the U.S. That number includes not just doctors and nurses but, also, the pharmacists, IT professionals, supply chain employees, hospital volunteers and others who have played an integral role in keeping our hospitals running safely and efficiently during the pandemic.
At Upper Allegheny, examples abound of staff working behind the scenes to protect and improve the health of patients. Laboratory staff worked on efforts to increase COVID-19 testing capacity in the early months of the pandemic. The pharmacy team collaborated with intensivists to evaluate the effectiveness of emerging COVID-19 treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma and blood thinners.
“There was a lot of research-grade work happening here that you don’t typically see in rural America,” notes Dr. Mills. “We have some great people here who demonstrated an amazing level of collaboration and collegiality.”
People across hospitals have weathered the past year with flexibility and resilience, navigating new policies and regularly updated public health guidance. Amid all of their hard work, hospital workers have endured stress, anxiety, loneliness and burnout, not to mention they have put their lives on the line each day.
“This is what we signed up to do,” says Dr. Mills. “Some days it’s a lot of fun and other days it’s difficult. You just take a deep breath, then come back tomorrow.”
Honoring hospitals and the people who make them great
Last year, most hospitals recognized providers and staff with virtual National Hospital Week festivities. With the darkest days of the pandemic behind us, many hospitals have plans to hold in-person celebrations this year. According to Dr. Mills, Upper Allegheny will host a picnic (observing social distancing guidelines) for employees with leadership doing the cooking and serving.
This National Hospital Week, CompleteRx salutes all healthcare professionals who step up and deliver every day. “No one could have predicted or planned for what happened over the past year,” says Terry Andrus, CompleteRx CEO. “The swiftness with which our hospital colleagues came together to navigate the darkest days of the pandemic and are now working on getting communities vaccinated is nothing short of amazing.”
From all of us at CompleteRx, we extend our heartfelt thanks to hospital employees for their hard work and sacrifices today and every day.