Welcome back to #TogetherWeZoom, a series dedicated to the people who make what we do possible. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, we would like to honor ZOOM+Care’s front line. To highlight the important work our providers and clinic associates are doing during the pandemic—and to learn more about the extraordinary challenges they face every day—we’re dedicating this series to them for the time being. (You can check out PART ONE here. )
For this week’s #TogetherWeZoom, we spoke to Jennifer Morris: a PA-C on our Urgent and Primary Care Team. Read on to learn about her proudest moment on the job since the pandemic hit, how she’s adjusting to the “new normal,” and what she’s going to do when all of this is over.
Hi Jennifer! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. So first off, given the moment, how are YOU feeling?
At the moment, I’m doing well. I’m happy to be employed, healthy, and able to serve our patients.
Can you tell us What challenges you and the ZOOM+Care are staff face daily?
Some of our greatest challenges come from dealing with change every day. As an organization, we are rapidly adapting by adding new products such as PhoneCare™ , VideoCare™ , and expanding ChatCare™ . Change is difficult for people in the best of times, but our rapid changes require a great deal of fortitude, grace, and patience. Another challenge is managing patient and staff anxiety and fears around illness symptoms, potential exposure to COVID-19, staying well, concerns for the future, and this new “normal”.
What was a typical day for you like before coronavirus? What are your days like now?
Before the coronavirus outbreak, I saw all of my patients in-person, in the clinic. Currently, I am a VideoCare™ provider, which is an effective and sustainable option for both our patients and me. By using VideoCare™ visits, we can maintain social distancing protocols and conserve PPE. I’ve found that most things can be diagnosed and treated via VideoCare™.
Outside of work, before coronavirus, I was seeing friends, going to concerts, entertaining at home, etc. Not so much anymore!
What precautions do frontline workers have to take when clocking off and going home?
We have to think about whether or not it is a good idea to go to the grocery store or get takeout on the way home.
Every outing is a potential exposure point, and we cannot get sick now. Our patients need us to provide care, our colleagues need us to keep people out of the ERs unnecessarily, and our families depend on us.
Can you describe the mood amongst the ZOOM+Care staff?
The mood is mixed and varies by the moment, or by the day. There was a great deal of anxiety until we started providing the majority of visits by video, phone, and chat.
Since adding those services, we are more comfortable coming to work as we do not have so many concerns about possible exposure.
How is the staff coping with the potential shortage of PPE?
We’re doing okay for the time being, but it is worrisome. We simply cannot provide care without adequate PPE.
What’s your favorite activity or practice to keep the COVID blues at bay?
I’ve been walking a lot with my (very sweet) dog, catching up on reading, watching movies, working in my yard (tearing out overgrown plants and weeds is a good way to relieve tension), and connecting with friends and family via phone (actual conversations, imagine that!)
What are you doing to cope with stress and anxiety right now?
Deep breathing and taking it all in stride are my two best strategies. Also, just remembering that we will get through this and come out the other end better and stronger.
Any advice on how to support medical workers during this time?
Everyone requires different things to feel supported. It seems the universal asks are:
- Feeling heard through active listening, having a positive and encouraging workplace. (A kind word and acknowledgment of someone’s efforts go a long way.)
- Colleagues staying calm in the face of fear and anxiety.
- Colleagues stepping up to cover a shift, and/or colleagues taking on extra tasks to lighten someone’s load.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when all of this is over?
Party! Spend time with my friends and family, go to the movies, and plan a trip.
If you could tell the general public one thing right now, what would it be?
Please stay home and stay safe, not only for yourself and your family but for the well-being and health of others. If you are sick, do not go out or go to work. (This also applies to when this is over, and for ANY illness).
The pandemic will end, and when it does, you can have a huge party and celebrate with your neighbors, family, and friends. Life will return to normal—just be patient.
ZOOM+Care is doing a lot to fight COVID-19 in our community. What’s been your proudest moment on the job since the pandemic hit?
I am so proud of our company’s response to all of this. The staff at ZOOM+Care have stepped up and worked together to support each other, our patients, and the community. The team here have worked miracles to expand ChatCare™ quickly, and add phone and video visit service lines. We quickly mobilized a COVID-19 testing pilot and have begun testing our high-risk patients. I’ve been amazed at the support and flexibility of our staff. It has been truly inspiring!