During this global pandemic, our teammates are bravely fighting for our community and one another, and we want them to be recognized. Each day we will feature a new hero who has shown courage, strength, compassion or dedication during this pandemic.
Respiratory therapists, Josh Denton and Jenny Kester are recognized as as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Josh, a respiratory therapist, makes the COVID-19 unit so much more enjoyable by always making us laugh and his positive attitude. He’s extremely helpful to the nursing staff and helps out with things that he doesn’t have to. He also is fantastic with patients. He is always upbeat and brings good morale to the COVID-19 unit.
Jenny is always willing to help with turns, even the patients who are not in her care. She went out of her way to educate my patient going home on oxygen, including the concentrator.
Josh and Jenny have stood with nurses and held patients hands and made sure they were comfortable in their last minutes of life.
Their skills as therapists are unparalleled. They assist in intubation, all oxygen requirements and successful weaning off the ventilator. They have gone beyond their job titles to answer phones, assist the doctors and nurses and simply be there for the patients. They are all heroes. The respiratory department is truly lucky to have them!
Fred Edgar, manager of engineering, is recognized as as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Fred Edgar, manager for engineering at Mount Pleasant Hospital, is a COVID hero. When the organization first began planning for the appropriate place for positive patients to be cared for, Mount Pleasant Hospital was asked to convert 42 rooms to negative pressure on a Friday afternoon. We were given one week to make this happen. Fred and his team, along with Trident Construction, quickly began planning. By the following, Friday we had all 42 rooms converted. This involved removing windows, securing window fans, creating a template to enclose the window and fan, and testing the pressure this would place on our existing HVAC system. With Fred’s leadership and his team’s can-do attitude we had this completed in one week. His concern for teammate and patient safety was always at the forefront of the task at hand. We would not have been able to complete this task without Fred’s leadership.
– Tavia Buck, chief nursing and administrative officer at Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital
Dr. Robert Oliverio, CEO of Physician Partners is honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
He has worked SO hard here at the drive-thru testing site and was drenched in sweat all day recently on a weekend because he was outside swabbing patients. He is always the first to arrive and his attitude is always amazing (as per usual). He will be leading meetings remotely while suiting up to get out the parking lot and swab patients. No task is beneath him, and I don’t think he is being recognized as much as he should be. Since this started, he has been such an amazing leader, allowing me the space to do what I need to do and supporting me in leading this process. I could not do this without him. He has truly been an example to follow, his dedication and compassion have shined through this whole process. Although we have tested patients for more than 70 days, and even though he has MUCH better things to do, he is here and happy. Dr. Oliverio is the kind of leader that in a pandemic you need: open minded, compassionate, resolute, gracious and smart.
– Amanda Biondi
Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Kent Stock is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Dr Stock has been instrumental in developing the treatment plans for the system during the COVID crisis. He is constantly reviewing the literature for updates and modifying the approach based on the best available data. The COVID ICU rounding and team-based approach he helped facilitate have been very impactful to patient care, and he shows up daily with a positive attitude!
– Sara Utley, Pharm D
ICU Nurse, Allison Owen recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Allison is an excellent ICU RN and has been a part of the COVID 19 task force at Roper Hospital from the very beginning. I have worked with Allison multiple times in various ICU settings and she remains a vital member of the team. She is a great resource for the newer nurses and is a great example of how mentally strong Roper nurses are under pressure during these uncertain times. In addition, she always treats her patients with respect. Recently, I observed her facilitate patient centered care for all the patients in CICU, updating their family members as needed while other members of the team were busy in PPE provided hands on care. She truly is great to work with and I want to nominate her for her continuous positive/caring attitude, great leadership, quick problem solving abilities and never ending diligence.
– Adrianna Matusiak
Jodi Grossman-Rose recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
When COVID-19 started affecting the Charleston area, Jodi, my wife, decided she felt her calling was to be on the front line. Helping people in their time of worse need was her calling, and she felt now was the time to step forward. Her re-entry into clinical nursing meant she had to relearn skills she thought she lost, but she was able to pick up pretty much right where she left off almost 10 years ago. She became an asset to the unit where she’s normally assigned as a case manager. They all appreciated her willingness to jump in and help. While I thought I saw the last of 12 to 14 hour shifts years ago, I was glad she was making a difference by answering her calling.
– Jeff Rose
RN, Jay Cooley honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Jay, BSN, RN is staffing the coronavirus ICU at Roper Hospital. He just recently completed his orientation to ICU at BSSF. During his orientation, he simultaneously signed on to help staff his former unit (3rd floor med/surg) when extra staffing needs where needed and agreed to take on a fourth 12-hour shift for six weeks. This commitment was just recently completed. Not only did he successfully complete his ICU orientation ahead of the proposed schedule, he immediately volunteered to staff the COVID 19 ICU at Roper Hospital. His adaptability, flexibility, and willingness to go where he is needed is inspiring and embodies the commitment to heal all people with compassion, faith and excellence.
– His proud mother
Nurse, Adam Cross honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
John “Adam” Cross volunteered to care for COVID-19 positive patients in the home. The challenges are difficult to control without knowing what you are walking into in a particular home. Adam always steps up to help out and is without a doubt the kindest most compassionate nurse. He was nurse of the year last year.
Amanda Norris and Caitlin Beckwith are recognized as COVID-19 Healthcare Heroes
These two women have been working HARD to keep the whole team together and strong more than ever. They are in charge of the tracking of every single COVID test performed in our lab or sent it to reference lab. They keep reagents and our service running at 100 percent even though our staff is short. They keep us motivated every day during this crisis. Both believe in our talent and knowledge. I do not have enough words to express how grateful and blessed I am working with Amanda and Caitlin.
– Carlos Acosta
Volunteer, Colleen Turick is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Colleen is a volunteer on PCU and the Cancer Center. Frustrated at not being able to help out, she learned that wearing masks for 12 hour shifts was hurting the staff’s ears. She got to work crocheting mask extenders with buttons to take the pressure off the ears. Luckily she had just bought a supply of large buttons and felt it was meant to be!
– Joan Perry
Quanda Johnican, office manager for the Roper St. Francis Transition Clinic is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Since we opened up the drive-thru testing site, we have expanded our operations to allow doctors to order COVID-19 testing as part of the pre-admission testing process for some surgical patients. The ability of our site to provide those screenings is critical for us returning to more normal operations. Quanda, the office manager for the Transition Clinic, has been instrumental in getting those processes staffed and organized as well as creating a workflow that allows us to maintain a less than two minute turnaround for patients through the testing center. We’ve tested 150 patients in five hours. She’s helping us meet the community need as well as the system’s need with the resources we had. This is outside of her scope of normal responsibilities, and she’s risen to the occasion to provide exceptional leadership to a group of people who are working seven days a week. She keeps morale up and ensures our teammates are protected with the equipment, supplies and support they need.
– Dr. Robert Oliverio
Nurse, Jessica Thiessen is honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Jessica has such a kind and compassionate heart that she shares with each of her patients. She has worked extra shifts many weeks during this time to help with staffing needs and is always willing to help her coworkers through a busy night. On top of all this she always has a positive attitude, which can be challenging working in a unit where we are all learning together how to care for covid patients. Recently Jessica learned that her elderly patient missed the family dog. Jessica found a small stuffed dog that looked like the beloved pet and brought it in for the patient. This patient had been fidgety and anxious during the day and immediately lit up when she saw the little dog–she squeezed him and petted him, calming herself immediately. The rest of the staff was so touched by the kind gesture, it not only lifted the spirit of the patient but definitely boosted morale all around. This is just one example of Jessica’s dedication to her career. She works so hard balancing work and her family and she deserves a shout out!
– Annelise Mackinnon
Kelly Jenkins, RN at Express Care is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Kelly Jenkins is our lead RN here at Roper Express Care on James Island. At the time when coronavirus remained isolated to China but the United States was beginning to be warned; Kelly had a heightened awareness and motivation to get us prepared. Kelly initially formulated triage questions for our MDRs to ask patients walking into our facility in efforts to keep our staff and our patients safe. When the pandemic was upon us, she was a HUGE part of developing the MAT (Medical Assessment Team) which enabled us as a clinic to continue to support our community by caring for patients outside of our building. Strategically mapping out where our outside tents would be set up, how and where our MDRs would assess patients, the correct supplies and PPE needed to care for patients in the MAT Tents and where patients would park to be tested and examined. These strategies were initiated at the James Island location and because of their success they were quickly instilled by the other three Express Care locations. Not only did she help develop these plans but she also put them into action. Kelly worked almost seven days a week for weeks in our express care by her own will. Kelly brought her nursing skills and experience to the forefront to help facilitate a safe and productive work atmosphere. She has remained positive but also promoted a healthy concern for the need to remain safe during this time. Initiating shift huddles, Kelly professionally reminded our staff of the correct ways to use PPE as well as how to wisely conserve it. Professionally communicated housekeeping rules to our staff and outside float staff in efforts to keep us safe and healthy. Kelly also initiated a staff money donation bank for any anonymous needs that may come up during these difficult and stressful times. I can say without a doubt, that the express cares as a whole would not have been as efficient and safe during the COVID pandemic without the nursing experience and expertise of Kelly Jenkins. We all love her and are proud to work with her!
– Cheryl Irwin
Kendra Grant in our materials management department is honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Kendra in materials management has been amazing in helping us get the COVID unit at Roper Hospital up and running. She had to stock and move the PAR rooms to accommodate the COVID needs at least four different times. We made many changes to our supply needs and removed a lot of items in those first few weeks. Kendra worked long hours to get everything right for area. Throughout our daily changes and even now, she comes to the area with a smile and a great attitude.
– Rachele Pike
Nurse, Annelise MacKinnon is honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
I’m so proud of Annelise for not only volunteering to work on the COVID-19 unit but also for doing so with such a positive attitude each day. As someone who gets great joy from cheering up her patients or making them feel heard, this has been a really challenging time for her. Even so, she has found ways to make someone smile with a birthday sign or a FaceTime call to their children. She has shown her COVID-19 patients the same level of compassionate care regardless of the circumstances. Annelise McKinnon had a difficult rule out patient. She maintained her composure throughout every donning and doffing and spent upwards of 45 minutes in that suffocating PPE to ensure her patient had everything they needed and was returned safely to bed. She is an amazing nurse.
– Michael Scruggs
Annelise volunteered to come to the COVID unit at the very start of all of this. She is an amazing nurse and teammate. Shes always the first person willing to don all of the PPE to help in a room. She takes the time to get to know her patients and their families (even though they are not here). I couldn’t imagine working on this unit or Buxton without her.
– Emily Harvey
RN, Kaitlyn Shepherd is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Kaitlyn Shepherd was the first weekend Registered Nurse at Roper Home Health to volunteer to see COVID- positive patients in the home setting. I have been Kaitlyn’s home health supervisor for approximately two years, and I have been consistently inspired by her dedication to Roper Home Health, and the communities we serve. The pandemic has moved us all in different ways- Some of us are admittedly frightened and anxious, most of us have questioned our courage and bravery, but never Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn stepped up to care for COVID-positive patients at the very first asking. Structured environments do not exist in home health, a fact that became increasingly evident during this pandemic. Kaitlyn is a seasoned home health nurse. She knew that she could be walking in to a home with symptomatic family members, precarious levels of clean surfaces, and that she would not be able to remove her PPE for the duration of the visit. She knew she would need to don and doff her PPE in a carport, doorway, or apartment hallway. She would not have access to her cell phone, a bathroom, or the assistance of another nurse in the home with her. She relied on the established protocols, and her extensive nursing knowledge to treat and care for her patients. Kaitlyn’s first COVID-positive visit was over two hours long, most of that time spent providing emotional support to the patient, and family. I spoke with Kaitlyn just after her initial visit with this family, and she stated, “Everything went really well, I’ll need to make another visit tomorrow to reassess her breathing. Her family is very scared.” No fanfare, no parades, nothing out of the ordinary (minus the extra PPE) for Kaitlyn, who is bravely caring for people in need, in the Roper community, during a very scary time. Kaitlyn deserves to be recognized as Healthcare Hero, for the undeterred care, and bottomless compassion that she provides to the patients she sees, in the home setting.
– Anna Rucker
RN, Ashley Mosier is honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
She volunteered to take the first rule-outs all weekend (She works WOW). She was on the front line at a very confusing time and provided amazing care for these patients, including the first positive case, while figuring out the testing/coordinating care between various departments, going back and forth between them and DHEC at a time when we all were just figuring out how to treat these patients. She continues to volunteer to take these patients, reducing the risk for her fellow teammates and developing expertise on the care for these very special patients. This RN deserves a bonus.
Dr. Gary Cianci, physician with Roper St. Francis Express Care is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
He spearheaded the development of the RSF Express Care response to COVID-19. Primary care physicians are very appreciative of his design, which allowed our patients to be cared for while protecting the offices and staff.
– Dr. Valerie Scott
He volunteered to spearhead the efforts at the RSF Express Cares to create a Mobile Assessment model to allow continued hands-on care of patients with respiratory symptoms, while still preserving safety of staff. He has sacrificed time and energy (and sleep!) with constant communications with the physician providers and other departments within RSFH, and others in the community, to develop/work a comprehensive plan of attack during the pandemic. This was taken on without coercion, without additional pay, and without a special title. He is the bomb diggity!
– Cynthia Jones
Dr. Marion Cooper, physician with Roper St. Francis Express Care is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Dr. Cooper has gone above and beyond working in our mobile assessment tents at RSF Express Care on University Boulevard, sometimes multiple days in a row, in the heat and even the rain. He is always great even outside of this virus, but he has gone even further to show how dedicated he is to helping patients. He is awesome!
– Ashlynn Janikowski
Cathy Hallman-Kenner, manager of the Mobile Resource Pool is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
When the discussions around planning to open a unit to care for COVID 19 patients at Roper Hospital began, I knew I would need some assistance finding nurses willing to work in this unit. After collaborating with Sherrel Smith, I reached out to Cathy Kenner, the manager of the Mobile Resource Pool, and asked Cathy if she would consider managing this unit. She never hesitated and said “absolutely.” Cathy initially sought volunteers to work there but when we told them they would only be able to work in this unit and not go back in forth to their home unit and this unit, the pool of volunteers dwindled. There were other restrictions as well, such as not being able to leave the unit during the shift. This was a new virus and we were relying on the practices and lessons from other hospitals around the country who were already treating these patients. The information coming from the CDC changed daily as we learned more about the impact of this disease. Knowing the mobile resource nurses were innately flexible, Cathy encouraged them to be the pioneers to staff the unit. Cathy had the unit staffed, trained and ready to accept the first patients. Working closely with Rachele Pike, we were able to open the CICU COVID unit in time for our first positive patient. They keep the staff motivated and engaged and are cheerleader leaders for the team, especially when we lose a patient to this dreadful virus. I am grateful to both of them for their hard work and dedication to this effort and it continues.
– Sue Bennett, chief nursing officer of Roper Hospital
Nurse, Shelia Vega honored as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
This nurse is truly dedicated to serving her community and taking care of others. She works at both the RSF Express Care on University Blvd and the BSSF ED. She is loyal to our organization and the profession of nursing. She had been on the front line of testing individuals for COVID-19 since the beginning. She personally calls to follow up and check on patients who have been tested, just to see how they are doing. If they need anything, she makes sure it gets taken care of. She is dedicated, humble, honest, hardworking, kind, compassionate, and one of the best. She raises the bar for caregivers daily.
Jimmy Wilkerson, manager of environmental services recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero.
Jimmy was nominated for volunteering to clean the rooms of confirmed COVID-19 patients at Roper Hospital once they were moved or discharged. He was nominated by RSFH Chief Nursing Officer Pennie Peralta, who wrote “For all the reasons that were publicized about his commitment to his team and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and keep the Roper Hospital Covid Unit safe for everyone. Remarkable commitment to RSFH and our people. Selfless and inspiring.”
Before COVID-19 became a recognizable acronym to every American, Jimmy Wilkerson decided he would lead by example.
He doesn’t like to talk about it, but the manager of environmental services at Roper Hospital has been cleaning the rooms of confirmed COVID-19 patients since March 20 once they are moved or discharged.
Two pairs of gloves, an isolation gown, a surgical mask, booties and 75 minutes: That’s what it takes Jimmy to clean every inch of a room – repeating some spots two and three times – until it’s perfect for the next patient.
“If you are in this business, you’re basically at war, and this is what you signed up to do,” said Jimmy, a 12-year leader at Roper Hospital. “So now we use our training.”
Roper Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Matt Desmond said he wasn’t surprised when Jimmy shared his plans. Be it a pandemic or a hurricane, Jimmy is one the first leaders to step up, Desmond said.
“He’s the one who arrives first with is sleeping bag,” he said.
Jimmy, who came to RSFH after a 25-year career with Marriott International, didn’t broadcast his self-appointed duties. Word of him cleaning the rooms only leaked out after an anonymous mention in a teammate survey.
He deflects praise and points out everything his team is doing, such as cleaning the rooms of multiple patients who are awaiting test results for COVID-19. He added that once RSFH sees a surge of patients by the end of April or early May, multiple teammates on his 70-person EVS team will be cleaning the rooms of confirmed COVID-19 patients.
And rather than talking about himself, Jimmy commends our doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists who are caring for patients. He brags about his crew, some of whom have worked for RSFH for up to three decades.
Jimmy said he wouldn’t expect his team to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.
So for now, he’s doing it himself.
Dr. Romina Ilic recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Dr. Ilic was nominated by four teammates for her selflessness, compassion and positive attitude. Her nominations read:
“Dr. Romina Ilic is, without question, a Healthcare Hero. She is a shining example of what it means to be selfless & compassionate, and was long before COVID-19. She stepped up, without hesitation, to care for our critically ill patients in CICU. She has been a clear & calm voice of reason, wisdom, and integrity as our healthcare system has navigated this pandemic, standing up for those who can’t speak for themselves, and leading by example. She is also exceptionally collaborative – she values & encourages input from all disciplines in order to provide excellent care for patients on a daily basis. When she’s not at the bedside, she’s constantly reading & communicating with colleagues around the globe to ensure our team remains at the forefront of medicine. I nominate her not just for these reasons, but because she is always the calm within the storm, and a graceful leader. We are immensely fortunate to have her as our RSFH ICU Director, and caring for our patients.” – Amy Lehnert
“She has been a leader in the forefront keeping a positive attitude. She is the definition of a teammate putting others’ lives ahead of her own with great compassion. She is a professional in her field as an anesthesiologist and continues to take care of COVID patients selflessly with a family at home that depend on her. Dr. Ilic is a healthcare hero.” – Jeanine Satriano
“Rounding on COVID patients twice a day, caring for all of them” – Brian Ferla
“Dr. Ilic is a constant leader who is able to maintain a presence without being overly intimidating. She is a team player, easy to talk to, and a role model for her coworkers. She maintains ICUs while being a single mother. She models strong health behaviors (physical, emotional), and is someone I want to work with for a very long time.” – Margaret Ling
Pharmacists honored as COVID-19 Healthcare Heroes
A Firefly Distillery donation of more than 600 liters of 190 proof grain alcohol is being transformed by a team of three Roper Hospital pharmacists into 5,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
This time-consuming process of mixing, bottling and labeling hand sanitizer has been a special COVID-19 project outside of the pharmacy’s typical scope, but the team seized the opportunity and has created a product that will benefit thousands of healthcare workers and patients.
“I’m incredibly thankful to work with these pharmacists,” said John Fowler, pharmacy manager at Roper Hospital. “I just turned it over to them – here’s the recipe, here’s the alcohol and I’ll schedule you – and they were off to the races.”
Firefly Distillery, the state’s oldest working distillery, has been producing and selling hand sanitizer to help meet the demand locally. It donated 60 boxes of 190 proof grain alcohol to Roper Hospital, and pharmacists Linh Doan, Brian Rollings and Erin Lattimore were tasked with converting it into a hand sanitizer that met federal standards.
“It’s not something we typically do, but we’re not in typical times,” Doan said. “Supplies were running short from our distributors for hand sanitizer, and what better option than Firefly donating alcohol to make hand sanitizer.”
The team of pharmacists followed federal guidance for compounding the hand sanitizer, which was mixed bottle by bottle – a total of 600 times. They added a chemical to make the alcohol undrinkable, then put it back into the liter bottles.
They are in the process of labeling and rebottling the hand sanitizer into four-ounce containers. Once they’re finished, the hand sanitizer will be dispersed to Home Health nurses who are out in the community visiting patients as well as other RSFH facilities.
“It’s a great resource to have because we don’t know what our supply chain will be,” Doan said.
Not all alcohol can be used to make hand sanitizer. A vodka you might typically buy at the store is around 80 proof, which is 40 percent alcohol. The federal recommendation is that hand sanitizers have more than 65 percent alcohol to be considered effective. The 190 proof alcohol is about 95 percent alcohol.
Simply pouring the 190 proof grain alcohol on your hands isn’t a good every day hand sanitizer option, Doan said. While you can do that in an emergency, doing so repeatedly would cause your hands to dry out and crack, he said. The hand sanitizer mixed by the Roper Hospital pharmacists has just enough glycerin in it to moisturize your hands.
“We had to use our chemical equipment to get the precise measurements to make sure our formula was correct,” he said.
Fowler thanked the Materials Management team, including Doug Robertson, Edmund Gilchrist, D’Angelo Grant, Ron Redick, Iosif Kulcsar and Lee Lazarus for their assistance in securing the hard-to-find four-ounce bottles and other ingredients needed to make the hand sanitizer.
Fowler said he hoped the hand sanitizer would be another factor that would help patients feel safe at Roper St. Francis Healthcare.
“When I think about the hospital, this is the safest place I go during the day,” Fowler said. “I get more concerned when I go to the grocery store. Hopefully, this helps give patients more confidence when they come here. I want them to know that we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe. I feel safe here, so anything we can do to help that trickle down to our patients is a good thing.”
Registered Nurse, Eden Buntin is a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Eden was nominated multiple times by various teammates for volunteering to serve on the COVID-19 unit at Roper Hospital as well as for the quality of her work.
One teammate wrote, “she is an incredible RN who has volunteered her time (specifically five 12-hour days each week) to the COVID + isolation unit. When inappropriate PT/OT orders were placed on her COVID patient, I called down to her to clarify and discuss the plan. She very calmly took the time to discuss with me to determine the safest plan, took her own time to reach out to the hospitalist (who also agreed that no one else needed to be exposed to that unit at this time), and was even willing to initiate and help discuss the potential need and design for therapy virtual visits to ensure no therapists were put at risk for exposure, but so the patient still could be assessed. She, in a time of crisis and stress, was extremely supportive of everyone else’s safety (at the risk of her own), and was innovative to help determine the best way to keep her patients safe. I think that level of communication, awareness, patience and focus on providing the absolute highest level of care for ALL around her deserves to be greatly recognized.” Another teammate wrote about the same incident and wrote, “she caught unnecessary therapy orders and prevented two teammate from being potentially exposed and the continued spread of COVID.”
A third nomination read, “she has made tremendous efforts to ensure that CICU has everything needed should the COVID situation escalate. Between Roper’s effort to support the nurses and her innovative mind, I feel that we are as prepared as anyone can be.” And a fourth read, “Eden in the COVID unit is being a great teammate. She only is sending positive messages and is going above and beyond by volunteering to work in the COVID unit.”
Bill O’Kieffe, a buyer in our corporate purchasing office is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Bill had the enormous task of finding and ordering the large amount of bulk respiratory supplies for the potential COVID-19 surge. Bill took on the task without hesitation. He updated me daily on shipments and back order dates. He organized all of the supplies on a spreadsheet which he sent out via email on a regular basis. When I needed to add items he handled it and I had the PO numbers within minutes. Bill is one of my behind the scenes healthcare hero’s because without him, we would not be able to care for our patients. Thank you Bill!
– Nominated by Sherry Amos
Vanessa Shamrock, director of lab services is recognized as a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
If it were not for the tireless and relentless work of Vanessa, we would not have the COVID-19 testing capabilities for our patients and teammates. Vanessa has worked every angle she could think of to improve testing and reporting or results. She has spent countless hours tracking down test results for patient, ensure that proper testing medium is available, as well as ensuring our testing is accurate and safe. Vanessa is a true asset to RSFH.
– Nominated by Carin Hosler
Vanessa has worked tirelessly over the past four weeks to find avenues to support COVID testing/ reporting, obtain the resources we needed to provide our own testing, and get our processes up and running in record time. Not only were the processes set up in record time, they are exceptional processes and reporting is accurate and timely. This has been truly transformational in how we are caring for our patients and dramatically conserved our precious PPE. We could not have done this without her.
– Nominated by Pennie Peralta
Jeff Lentini, director of food and nutrition services is a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Throughout this ordeal, Jeff has consistently gone out of his way to help with many of our large food donations that require more hands on deck to distribute. He doesn’t even ask if you need him – he just says he is going to help and then shows up. Every single time, he shows up.
Jeff is a huge asset to this organization – not only due to his expertise but also because he brings joy wherever he goes and encourages his staff to do the same. Understanding what our clinical teammates are going through, he works to be a source of light and joy at each facility. I am grateful for his servant leadership and willingness to jump in any time he is needed!
– Nominated by Tara Tsehlana
Amanda Biondi, program director for the Greer Transitions Clinic is a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Roper St. Francis Healthcare needed a designated spot to test patients for COVID-19, and Roper St. Francis Physician Partners Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bob Oliverio knew that place was going to be increasingly important as the pandemic worsened.
The Roper St. Francis Greer Transitions Clinic was easily accessible – off I-526 and close to I-26- and it had a large carport, and it was led by Amanda Biondi, a capable leader who’s proven herself time and again. Oliverio worked side-by-side with Biondi to bring the concept to life.
“In terms of being agile, being decisive and being resourceful, those were things we needed at the beginning of the pandemic, and that’s what Amanda does,” said Oliverio, who helped nominate Biondi. “That’s the way she runs the Greer Transitions Clinic and the drive-thru testing center. We needed to move fast and use what we had, and she’s really good at doing that.”
Together, they helped created a site that could complete testing routinely, efficiently and reliably. Biondi secured testing supplies and personal protective equipment when both were in short supply, and she helped develop protocol for how to make the site work. She provided training for donning and doffing of gowns as well as for properly swabbing, and she made special efforts to recognize her team for their extraordinary work during a stressful time.
“She heard the call from her teammates and jumped right in on the front line of fighting this virus,” said Amy Brinson, who also nominated Biondi. “She is so beloved by her co-workers, doctors, leaders and members of the community for her determination, compassion and unrelenting desire to serve our patients in the most respectful way.”
Registered Nurse, Haley Harper is a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Registered Nurse Haley Harper was in Clinical Manager Katie Brantley’s office when Brantley received the request looking for volunteers for Roper Hospital’s COVID-19 unit.
Harper’s reaction? “It should totally be me.”
“That’s her personality,” Brantley said. “She’s always willing to do something to help the unit. She’s a leader.”
Harper had been recovering from knee surgery and just had returned to the unit to work three shifts. She was the first of seven teammates from 7 Buxton who would volunteer to care for confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Harper has been with RSFH since February 2017. Brantley, who nominated Harper, recalled Harper saying because she didn’t have kids, she didn’t have to worry about who she would be exposing at home. Many nurses were anxious about working with COVID-19 patients because of the unknowns, but Harper didn’t think twice about it, Brantley said.
“She just knew if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be her,” Brantley said. “She not only was willing to go there for patients, but she also was looking out for her teammates. She was wanting to protect other people.”
Since then, Harper has logged multiple nearly 60 hour weeks – the maximum allowed – so others won’t have to be floated to the COVID-19 unit. She’s been flexible with her scheduling, staying after her 12-hour night shift to ensure day shift had what they needed.
Brantley said she would love to nominate every nurse serving on the COVID-19 unit because of their selfless actions, and she was especially proud of Harper.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her willingness to not only take care of these complex patients but also her teammates,” Brantley said.
Johan Enslin, a Software Engineer is a COVID-19 Healthcare Hero
Johan Enslin, a software engineer, has been named a COVID-19 Hero for his tremendous support to Teammate Health during the pandemic.
Jennifer Clements, a process improvement manager, wrote Teammate Health would not be where it is right now without Johan, and it has positioned the office well to not only handle a potential surge but as well as handle the new normal that’s come with COVID-19.
He developed two online forms for teammates who were sick with COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed, as well as those who were considered high risk. From there, he developed a database that helped appropriately track the teammates and eliminate manual pieces of paper, spreadsheets and manual data pulls for teammate information.
”Essentially, Johan developed what is an equivalent to an electronic medical record that facilitates the sharing of information between disciplines and multiple locations as we continue to practice remotely,” she wrote.
Although the design of the database was changed numerous times, Johan remained patient, positive and willing to do whatever it took to get the job done, Clements wrote.
Rachele Pike Honored as COVID-19 Hero
When Nursing Officer Sue Bennett was asked where Roper Hospital would care for COVID 19 patients, her thoughts turned to the former CICU unit that had been vacant for more than two years.
Bennett needed someone who could assess the equipment needs and supplies and figure out how to create a safe environment for teammates as well as patients who had a highly contagious virus. She reached out to Rachele Pike, a clinical nurse manager who oversees telemetry, bed management and nursing supervisors, for help.
“She knows the system and the building well,” said Bennett, who nominated Rachele as a COVID-19 Hero. “She’s resourceful in terms of knowing where to get things and how to get things done.”
It was a high-stakes, high-stress job, and Pike collaborated with a team that included engineering, EVS Supervisor Jimmy Wilkerson and Manager Cathy Hallman-Kenner, among others, to create a safe and efficient unit.
Many details and logistics needed to be addressed, such as how medications and meals would be delivered and how linen and trash would get picked up. Although it was a joint effort to create the unit, Pike was the lynch pin in setting it up, Bennett said. She’s kept that responsibility to date.
“We were dealing with an unknown disease that initially was being likened to Ebola in terms of contagion,” Bennett said. “We needed to be very specific about our processes and training, as well as isolation practices.”
Pike’s work hasn’t stopped there. When Roper Hospital’s first intubated patient was told she could go home, Pike made sure the patient had a farewell to remember. The lobby was lined with teammates who cheered and clapped as the patient was wheeled out and delivered to a grateful family.
Angela Rentschler is our first COVID-19 Hero
When Home Health was anticipating its first patient with COVID-19, leaders asked for volunteers to serve on its COVID team. Angela Rentschler was the first to raise her hand.
Angela is an admission RN who completes assessments for new Home Health patients. Her role is crucial in determining whether and what kind of Home Health services would be appropriate for patients, and that means she spends more time in patients’ homes collecting information.
Because additional personal protective equipment must be used to care for COVID-19 patients, Angela’s role can become even more demanding in a home setting. Some homes are not air conditioned while others don’t have adequate space for social distancing.
Still, Angela willingly began assessing new patients with COVID-19. When it became clear that some COVID-19 patients in isolation needed follow-up visits, Angela again volunteered, this time to provide those additional visits. These are duties outside of her regular scope of responsibilities, and Angela readily has shouldered them.
Her work has made a tremendous difference for future Home Health caregivers of COVID-19 patients.
“She’s given us feedback on how we can improve the system to make it better for the next person going out there,” said Terri Sheehan, clinical manager for Home Health who nominated Angela. “Angela has led the charge on ensuring COVID-19 patients are seen in a timely manner and provided excellent care.”
Terri described Angela as an inspiration and a hero, and she thanked her for her dedication and commitment to our patients in this new and uncertain environment.