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From linen requests to oxygen supplies to hand sanitizer, Paul Harper and his supply chain team make sure Geisinger hospitals and clinics have the supplies they need.

Paul Harper, supply chain supervisor at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, oversees a staff of 14. From linen requests to oxygen supplies, Paul and his team are responsible for making sure the various departments throughout Geisinger hospitals and clinics in northeastern PA have the supplies they need. 

And the coronavirus pandemic has been no exception. Now, Mr. Harper and his team are working harder than ever to order and deliver masks, hand sanitizer and other pertinent supplies so that healthcare providers have everything they need to care for patients.

Adapting to changes at the hospital

As units within the hospital transition to COVID-19-specific care units, Mr. Harper’s team has been working to get nurses, doctors and staff an ample supply of masks, gloves and other medical supplies needed to keep themselves and patients safe. 

“I make sure all areas have 10 to 15 of each item, daily, whenever possible,” he says. “These include gloves and masks, plus a supply of hand sanitizer.” And those are just the basics — depending on the department, Mr. Harper needs to make sure it has the necessary machines, supply of oxygen and other needs.

Mr. Harper occasionally comes across a shipment of these needed items and takes them to strategic areas throughout the hospital, such as the Emergency Department, making sure each department has what it needs to get them through treating patients until the next shipment arrives.

“With the intensive care unit (ICU) expanding, we’re also putting together extra supply carts. These will make sure the ICUs have what they need in a moment’s notice so they can treat the influx of patients,” he says.

Staying calm throughout

Mr. Harper says he’s used to being in the hospital environment and making sure everyone has what they need. And the people he works with each day make it easy.

“The staff throughout the hospitals have been great. They’re understanding and patient as we’re getting items in that they need. That makes it easy for me and my team,” he says. “We deal with everything as we go and are doing all that we can to solve the problem at hand. We’re all in this together.” 

With the support of his team, Mr. Harper feels everything is running smoothly, and he’s proud to be helping during the COVID-19 pandemic. “You’re as good as your staff, and the staff here is outstanding,” he adds. “They work really hard and deserve the credit for everything going on here.”

Staying safe outside of work

To keep safe when he leaves, Mr. Harper makes sure he is always wearing his mask. “I wear mine until I get to my car. I stress this with my staff, too. We need to make sure we’re doing our part outside of work to slow the spread.”

When he’s at home, he and his family don’t go out much. Occasionally, he and his son go to the golf course to practice when no one else is there. “It’s a great way to relieve stress and spend some time outside,” he says.

He also wants people to know it’s important to take care of yourself right now — whatever that means to you. But that it’s just as important to follow guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. “Wash your hands and wear a mask when you go out,” he says. “If everyone works together and practices what we need to, hopefully, we’ll get through this sooner — the sooner the better.”
Paul F Harper, supply chain supervisor at Geisinger Wyoming Valley.
Paul F Harper, supply chain supervisor at Geisinger Wyoming Valley.

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