Get To Know: Pamela Falls, clinical coordinator, MRICU
April 21, 2020
Pamela Falls is a clinical coordinator in the Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (MRICU) who has been with VCU Health for 25 years. Her role in the MRICU has put her on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was gracious enough to spend a moment during this hectic time to give us insight into what it is like caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is a day on the job like since the pandemic began?
No day is the same. Information is changing rapidly, and I cannot focus on what happened yesterday. I have to keep moving forward during this time. Our unit looks nothing like it did a month ago. I would have never imagined IV pumps and ventilator monitors outside patient rooms. Now medicine wards are being converted into an ICU to care for a possible surge of patients.
What has been most different from "normal" days in the hospital?
Everyone is wearing a mask at all times. Family members are not at the bedside to be with their loved one. Staff members from other areas of the hospital have come to the MRICU to help with monitoring and care of our COVID-19 patients.
What remains the same?
Our awesome team members! I have been so proud to be part of a group of people that put themselves at risk to deliver care for our patients. We look out for each other.
What has been most difficult for you personally during the pandemic?
Answering questions from my 11-year-old daughter. She has been very worried that I could get sick caring for COVID-19 patients.
Have you seen any moments of hope or kindness in the hospital that you would like to share?
Staff have been amazing. Even though family cannot be present, I have seen exceptional care being delivered. Staff are excited to see our most critically ill COVID-19 patients improve. Today I listened to a nurse talk with a patient's wife. The wife told her husband “I love you," and the nurse described to the wife that he was mouthing "love you" back. It was really touching to see a nurse in all of her PPE [personal protective equipment] taking the time for this conversation.
Another story is watching a nurse FaceTime with a patient that was extubated. He was able to see his family from all over the world. It is touching to see nurses help with different forms of communication.
What are you doing to take care of your well-being during the pandemic?
Taking long walks on days off. Spending time with family.
What do you most look forward to doing when the pandemic ends?
Taking a nice vacation. Going to the gym. Kids going back to school. Having my normal life back!
What words of encouragement do you have for your fellow team members?
This has a beginning, middle and end. This will end. Work together, support each other and we will get through this.