In this installment of our Healing Warriors series, we recognize the SCP Health (SCP) clinicians across the nation who composed our National Response Team. As you’ll read below, these providers reacted to the pandemic with incredible courage, agility, collaboration, and respect—SCP’s four core values.
Responding to the Call to Action
In early March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began picking up speed in the United States, SCP proactively created the idea for a National Response Team (NRT). Given the predictions for how the virus might develop in our country and how the state licensing restrictions might loosen, the goal of this team was to go anywhere needed to help support the influx of infected patients.
In just a few days, 150 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants courageously signed up for the NRT, with the common refrain among them being: “Where do you want us?” These emergency and hospital medicine clinicians were incredibly eager to help wherever and however they could.
Then, predictions started to shift. Hot spot or not, almost all hospitals around the nation started to see a drastic decline in emergency medicine volume as people started to obediently socially distance themselves—even when they seriously needed medical care and should have visited the ER or urgent care. To help bring care to patients and supplement the volume loss, the NRT clinicians were given a new opportunity: dive into telemedicine.
SCP partnered with national eHealth organizations to support the high volume of calls they were experiencing—and created our own remote triage and care offerings for our clients in need of customized telehealth solutions. The NRT adapted with agility and many clinicians quickly took on virtual visits to help triage and treat patients in communities around the country.
At the same time, other NRT clinicians volunteered for another emerging need: emergency relief sites. Within 24 hours of discovering the need, SCP had two sites staffed and scheduled with enough emergency and hospital medicine providers to cover several consecutive days (each day requiring up to 17 providers).
The unique part of this initiative was the role it would require SCP’s clinicians to play. Only COVID-19 positive patients would be admitted to the relief sites, and as a result would be separated from their families, incredibly scared, and entirely unsure of what the future held for them. Those factors, combined with the intensity of the emergency environment, required providers to work highly collaboratively with each other and serve patients with the utmost respect and compassion. They would need to find a way to be the trusted medical expert and the reliable, reassuring companion to all of these patients, all day long.
To truly pay tribute to these clinicians who laid down their agendas, time, and countless hours of energy to provide whatever help was needed in this crisis, we wanted to showcase a few quotes and stories from their experiences in the field. Read below to hear their poignant perspectives:
“A cardiologist friend asked me if I had volunteered to work at an SCP Health emergency relief site on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic. When I replied, yes, he said ‘You live dangerously!’ We did not choose danger. It is a side effect of wanting to help. Besides, who else would do our job? Emergencies are what we are trained for. The front line is where we belong.”
“It was amazing to work with dedicated physicians and nurses who were not only coworkers, they were friends and family for 6+ weeks. It was an experience of a lifetime and I would do it again.”
“My best memory: the solidarity, camaraderie and sense of humor of all the nurses I met. What a great bunch to work with in any crisis!”
“It was a remarkable experience being in the company of dedicated volunteers, nurses, doctors, NPs and PAs who were pulling together to form an army, to hold the COVID-19 surge at bay. As our roles morphed each day, no one seemed to lose sight of why we were all here: to do our part. Just tell us what you want and we will make it happen!!”
“SCP needs to be in disaster medicine. All providers knew ‘things’ had to get done and they got it done!”
“What was truly enjoyable was keeping the focus on what was needed for the patients and being part of a functional team that came together and achieved an insurmountable task.”