KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The work of first responders and health care workers is undoubtedly valuable in the fight against coronavirus.
At St. Joseph Medical Center, CEO Jodi Fincher is hoping to raise awareness about all the other behind-the-scenes heroes.
“Our motto here at St. Joe is no matter where you work in the hospital, your job is to save lives," Fincher said.
"So our doctors and nurses can’t save lives if we don’t have clean rooms that our environmental service staff keeps clean. If we don’t have food, that our dietary team prepares, and if we can’t afford to buy new supplies and new equipment, our building team is important in that as well."
Between 200 and 250 people clock in to work at the hospital daily, but empty hallways are becoming the new norm as new protocols are being enforced.
Part of the new policies at the hospital include closing down multiple entrances, screening every single person into the buildings and no more volunteers.
“On a daily basis and a normal day, before all of this started, we were here for the safety and security of everyone here at the hospital -- patients, visitors, nursing staff, doctors, everybody," said Michael Dameron, public safety supervisor. "We get called if there’s a problem in the hospital."
Dameron now focuses on hospital entrance security as everyone is screened and monitored.
“It is different for us,," he said. "We are normally patrolling the campus more and things like that. Now, we are being turned in different directions right now just because of what’s going on."
Just like the doctors and nurses, the staff is being pushed to the front lines in the fight against coronavirus. The teams are working even harder than before to make sure everyone is safe.
“Thirty-five years in health care, and this is unprecedented in my career. We have seen nothing like this,” Fincher said.
“I came through the late 80’s, early 90’s during the AIDS crisis, and while that was a very big scary situation, it just does not compare to what we are going through today.”
Fincher has been recognizing all of her staff members through small acts of kindness, including free lunches and special goody bags to show appreciation.
They have also created an online database to keep all staff aware of daily changes in protocols due to COVID-19.
“We are trying to forecast how long this will take and how we will manage through this with good stewardship," Fincher said. "So when we are all done with this at the hospital, we will be healthy and safe and ready to provide the great care that our community is used to and expects from us."