By: Julie Maidens, RN, Care Coordination Integration at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital; Deanna Martin, PA-C, at Geisinger Gray’s Woods; Brittany Powlus, RN, medical surgical ICU at Geisinger Medical Center; James Gould, RN, telemetry unit at Geisinger Medical Center; Gabriel Heckert, Emergency Department nurse at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital; Chad Cope, BSN, RN, Operations Manager, Intensive Care Unit, at Geisinger Community Medical Center; Denise Felton, RN, patient liaison at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital; Stephanie Rarig, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, Operations Manager, Intensive Care Unit and Observation Unit, at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center; Tracey Bixler, RN, Emergency Department operations manager at Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital; Carol Walters, RN, Emergency Department operations manager at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital; Arika Stopper, RN Clinical Team Coordinator, Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital
Every day we’re faced with choices. Some are less important than others, like deciding what to wear or what to pack for lunch. Others are choices that put a lot of stress on our shoulders, like dealing with finances or how to care for an aging loved one. But right now, we’re dealing with a situation in our community that requires us all to make the choice to care for each other.
The nurses, doctors, medical technicians, pharmacists, food service and environmental service technicians — and thousands of other Geisinger employees like me — wake up every day and choose to continue this fight against COVID-19. We choose to put on our masks, head into the hospital and clinics, and care for our friends, families and neighbors in the community. We make this choice because for so many of us in the health care field, it’s our calling — to put the well-being of others first and foremost.
Right now, we’re facing unbelievable strain and stress inside our hospital walls, and we choose to come in anyway so we can care for those who need us most. We’ve seen COVID-19 cases spike day after day across central and northeastern Pennsylvania. In November alone, we’ve seen numbers as high as 200-plus inpatients with COVID-19. We’ve had more patients hospitalized with COVID-19 this fall than we did in the spring. Outside of the hospital, each day this month we’ve averaged one person per hour becoming infected with COVID-19.
Despite the increasing numbers, we’re choosing to come to work every day. But the concern in our eyes is because we’re seeing firsthand the pain and suffering this virus inflicts on our communities. And lately we’ve been seeing too many of our neighbors unnecessarily getting sick with COVID-19.
We can change the direction these numbers are heading. How? By choosing to look out for and take care of one another. We’ve lost 9,400 of fellow Pennsylvanians to COVID-19. These 9,400 families won’t have their loved one with them this upcoming holiday season. But with your help, we can keep other families whole.
You can join us in this battle. It’s as easy as wearing a mask or face covering. Avoiding large (or even small) gatherings. When you choose inconvenience over self-interest, you are choosing life over death. Choose to help us — your neighbors — on the front lines of this pandemic.
Let’s help each other. We attend the same churches, our kids go to the same schools, we cheer for the same teams, we all celebrate the victories in our communities, and we all mourn our losses. We’re choosing to care for you. And we know we can count on you, our neighbors, to choose to care for us and each other.