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May 12, 2020

Getting to Know the Front Lines of a Pandemic: Webinar Explores Healthcare Management During COVID-19

To build community, learn from unique experiences, and enhance understanding of big ideas in a quick, accessible format, University College at the University of Denver launched its Quick Connections series of webinars in early May. These webinars cover a variety of topics in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, kicking off with a discussion on healthcare management during COVID-19.

“I think the most important take-away was the human face of the pandemic,” said Rachel Rogers, assistant academic director of the Healthcare Management program and moderator for the webinar. “The panelists discussed trying desperately to maintain contact with the people they care for, whether they are patients or those who are isolating.”

The webinar brought together a panel of three students in the Healthcare Management program who shared their experiences during the pandemic: Kate West, Eaton Senior Communities; Boyd Loehr, Veteran Affairs; and Tami Friend, Centura Health. It was moderated by Rogers, along with and Bobbie Kite, assistant dean and academic director.

West discussed her organization’s focus on those who are socially distanced, playing “Bull Horn Bingo” with seniors by standing outside the building yelling bingo numbers with a bull horn. Similarly, Loehr detailed telehealth services for veterans and providing care for those who use their VA medical center as a place to meet socially, as well as to receive care. Friend stressed that the clinical staff (nurses and CNAs, in particular) are doing their best to help patients and families feel supported while they are sick and isolated.  

“One of the most amazing things that I can offer is that your loved ones are never alone because the nursing staff is there. We are doing the best that we can to help these people feel as safe as they can in our hands and as good as they can,” Friend said, adding that self-care has been extremely important for healthcare providers to ensure they can provide the best care to patients.  

An important point raised by all three panelists was the lack of disaster and emergency planning specific to COVID-19. It was becoming clear that existing plans didn’t account for a pandemic and most healthcare organizations need to revisit their plans to include all possible scenarios. All the speakers agreed that a pandemic like this, or another similar emergency situation, is likely to happen again and there needs to be better preparation.

All on the webinar also discussed how quickly healthcare professionals are being asked to shift gears from minute to minute.

“Every day is different. Every hour is different. Emails to staff with information became obsolete within minutes. All of the panelists said they used what they learned in the Healthcare Management programs and were happy they had some very effective tools to take with them into uncertain times as healthcare leaders,” said Rogers.

You can watch the entire webinar, as well as other Quick Connections webinars, on the University College Vimeo page. You can also learn more about upcoming webinars, held every Friday in May at 12 p.m., on the University College blog.

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