Leanne Chanley, LPN and Elias Ortega-Torres, LPN
Today's #shorehealthcareheroes story shines the spotlight on our Employee Health staff who have been a vital part of our fight against COVID-19.
The Employee Health staff consists of Leanne Chanley, LPN and Elias Ortega-Torres, LPN, and Kathy Mauro, Director of Employee Health and Benefits. One of the biggest challenges the team faced was all of the unknowns related to COVID-19.
“Shore, like every other hospital, had never faced a pandemic before. It just landed on us,” said Kathy Mauro, director of Employee Health and Benefits . “There was no manual to go to, and things were evolving so quickly. But we knew that it was our responsibility to help our co-workers who were going to be caring for our patients, so we did what we had to do. First and foremost, Leanne and Elias wanted to be there for our employees. They have been dependable, compassionate, and truly just incredible throughout this experience.”
One of the first tasks of the Employee Health team was to create a seven-day-a-week hotline for the staff. Employees had so many questions and needed direction. Managers need to know the parameters on who could work and who could not so they could make decisions on staffing. The Employee Health team was essentially the information hub for the hospital staff.
“I remember there being calls coming in non-stop, 50-75 a day, and it was instantly overwhelming,” reflected Mauro. “First we had to determine the travel patterns of our staff. Where did they go? When did they come back? Next, it was that symptoms which were changing all the time. People were scared and confused because there was so much information out there and it was constantly being updated. Our organization knew how important it was to be there for our employees, so we were able to add Chris Kozmour and Marlene Greenbaum, to the team. Both Chris and Marlene were so helpful and we are very grateful for their help.”
In addition to providing information and updates for the staff, Employee Health coordinated the COVID-19 testing for staff. They were also responsible for helping set up the parameters and guidelines for testing, developing the policies for positive and negative outcomes, and helping determined which staff should be quarantined. In addition, they provided a level of comfort for staff who were waiting for the results of their tests to come back.
“People were scared, and were experiencing a severely high level of stress and anxiety as they waited for test results,” said Mauro. “We were in constant communication with employees who were tested, trying to provide a level of comfort for them as well as keeping them calm.
“I’m so proud of Leanne, Elias, Chris and Marlene for all of their contributions and their commitment to Shore and their co-workers. I would also like to thank Melissa Szarzynski from Infection Prevention for providing expertise when Employee Health needed guidance and direction. This was an unprecedented challenge and we did whatever was needed to get the job done.