By Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE
It’s May, and as we enjoy a beautiful spring — as well as the chance to get out and about more since we have been fortunate to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine — it promises to be quite different than last year’s. Twelve months ago we were in the midst of the most frightening and uncertain time of the pandemic. It was early enough to know that we were dealing with something very serious, but not far along enough to be aware of any solutions, like the highly effective Covid-19 vaccine options.
May also presents us with many ways to show appreciation for those who work in healthcare. May is National Nurses Month, with May 6-12 being National Nurses Week, and National Hospital Week is May 9-15. The National Hospital Week theme for 2021 is, appropriately enough, Inspiring Hope Through Healing, a phrase that describes our collective acknowledgement that healthcare providers give patients and their families hope every day, with their heroic acts and even small gestures of support. Never has this work been more important than this past year, as we lived through a worldwide health crisis of unimaginable scale.
I urge our community to consider what we have been mindful of here at Angel Medical Center (AMC) — that in this year like no other, our frontline workers were unbelievably prepared, strong, and caring — despite the destruction wrought by the virus and the fear that healthcare workers had to deal with about combatting an enemy we often felt barely able to keep ahead of.
I saw too, how our staff put their worries for their own and their families’ health aside and consistently continued to put their patients first. This is the hallmark of nurses and other healthcare workers. They don’t blink, they just give their all to the task at hand, which is providing the most compassionate care to their patients with very diverse care needs.
As an institution, we want to be as supportive as possible to our care teams. They have been “in the trenches,” day in and day out, and they experienced trauma as a result of the daily stress that accompanies caring for their patients, whether they are affected by the virus or not, and sadly, losing patients is a reality too. HCA has been extremely supportive of our care teams by prioritizing flexibility in our work environment, since many team members have children who are now at home full-time.
The emotional toll of working in healthcare is something HCA recognizes too, and our Employee Assistance Program supports our employees’ emotional, as well as physical wellbeing. HCA also made it possible for our team members to get paid consistently throughout the pandemic, even when we were caring for a lower volume of patients. They ensured that we always had appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to deliver patient care as well.
Our healthcare workers are why I can still say with certainty that the hospital, even during the pandemic, is one of the safest places you can be, and definitely not a reason to delay routine screenings or emergency care.
I’m happy to announce also that on April 30th, we held a groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremony for our new 82,500-square-foot facility, and its design and amenities will also make our providers’ work more seamless. The new AMC will be located at One Center Court in Franklin, just a mile-and-a-half from where our current hospital sits. It will be equipped with three state-of-the-art operating rooms, one endoscopy suite, and an ER with 17 beds — three of which will be devoted to behavioral health patients. In addition, the larger patient rooms will offer spectacular, calming views of our mountains to our patients.
Of course our patients will benefit from the many advantages our new facility offers, but our care teams will as well. They deserve nothing less than innovative technology, telemedicine-supportive capabilities, and design that is focused on patient comfort to amplify their ability to provide the best care to their patients.
We believe that constructing the new AMC will take a little over a year and hope to move in during the fall of 2022.
In a time when rural hospitals are closing, HCA’s investment in Macon County is enabling us to build a new facility that will support the care of the future.
Our providers have made me proud as they nimbly tackled caring for our patients during the pandemic, and I look forward to seeing them shine in our new facility. No matter where they care for our patients, heroes do indeed work here now, and will grace our new facility as well.
Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE, is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. Gorby is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). For nearly three decades, she has served hospitals and health systems in Ohio before assuming her role at Angel Medical Center. Gorby received her MSN from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and her MBA from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.