Karen Philip, MSDA Class of 1998, is a Staff RN at the New York City Health and Hospitals Lincoln Medical Center. In the days before COVID-19, Karen was a Staff RN in the medical center’s primary care medicine clinic where she worked closely with an attending physician assisting patients during their regular MD appointments.
According to Karen, “It was very routine since the vast majority of our patients had scheduled appointments and were medically stable.” But as we are hearing from our other alumnae in healthcare – today is much a different day. “Right now, life in the hospital is complete chaos. You walk in the door having no idea where you're working or what type of patients you'll be assigned. Many new units have been created on the fly to accommodate the overflow of patients. Old office space that used to have desks and file cabinets are now in-patient units.”
Karen notes that the majority of her colleagues have been re-assigned to critical in-patient floors and for many of them, it is the first time they are caring for patients who are very sick. “I'm lucky in that I had med-surg experience so I've dealt with admitted patients, but I am not proficient with critical care patients. So far, I've worked in our testing clinic, which does COVID19 swabs for ambulatory patients, and in the COVID19 observation in-patient unit.”
On what it’s like to be a healthcare provider in the days of the pandemic: “Nothing prepares you for the constant anxiety and fear you have coming to work each day. You worry about everything: having enough staff, supplies, and most importantly PPE. All certainty and comfort is gone. You just hope and pray that your patients and yourself will be safe during the shift.”
And for Karen, as for all of our alumnae healthcare providers, her concern extends beyond her professional healthcare setting. “For me, it's hard coming home to my family. I have a husband, a 4 year old and 5 month old baby, and I'm worried that I will make them sick.” We are praying for your safety and wellbeing, Karen, and that of your family, your patients and all who are serving our communities, and are grateful for your service.