What it’s like Working at a Hospital during a Pandemic

Helloooooo everybody!

 

If you’ve read my past posts about my life update, you’ll know I am currently working at a major hospital in Indianapolis.  If I was you, my first thought would probably something along the lines of, “Girl you’re crazy get out of there. There’s a literal pandemic”  You know what?  I kinda agree, but it’s not as bad as you think.  I’m actually quite safe and not in much danger.

Let me tell you what my specific job is.  I do inpatient registration, so it’s nothing clinical (no direct patient contact for an extended period of time).  A typical day for me is checking my email when I come in, maybe meeting with my manager for a pow-wow, and pulling up all the websites and programs I use on a daily basis.

The bulk of my job is hauling a mobile computer around to patient’s rooms who need to be registered.  Registering is basically gathering a patient’s basic information: address, phone number, emergency contact, and insurance info.  It’s a pretty straight-forward job in the ways of my goals everyday.  I have a list I go off of that tells me who needs registered, and my goal is to get that list down to zero patients.  Sometimes that is a pretty obtainable goal, but other times it’s nearly impossible.  It all totally depends on how many patients are on the list when I clock in and how many new patients come up during my shift.  I just do my best everyday, which is all you can really ask of someone, right?

I also have two other lists I work off of.  Those lists are of Medicare patients who need a form signed.  Those lists work the same way as the registration list; the registration list is just my priority.

So that’s a basic overview of my job.  However, a lot of things changed when Covid-19 came into play.  I wanted to share with you the crazy changes we’ve had to make to accommodate for everyone’s health and safety.

My normal routine used to be to visit patient’s rooms directly from 5:00pm-9:00pm, working on my lists.  After 9:00pm I’d wrap things up, take my thirty minute lunch, and go down to the Emergency Department to help out the team down there while monitoring the registration list for new patients.

That normal schedule came to an abrupt halt when Covid-19 hit Indianapolis.  Now, I’m living a new normal, both in my work and personal life.  We’re talking about my work life here though, so let’s stay on track.

Nowadays, I come into the office, check my email, and maybe meet with my manager. My next step in the old normal would be to start visiting patient’s rooms.  Now, we’re doing everything over the phone to protect us from being exposed to COVID-19, and to keep social distancing while at work.  It’s been a bit difficult.

When you can visit a patient’s room, you can see their condition and tell if they’re able to speak coherently.  There may be a family member there to help with registration.  When you’re doing everything over the phone, you have to do some background work.  I have to figure out if the patient’s condition is well enough to speak so I can complete their registration (if they even have their phone with them).  If not, I have to make sure the emergency contact is someone who can give consents on behalf of the patient, if there’s even one listed.  Often, there is no contact info for the patient or an emergency contact.  Then what?  Basically, I’m a hospital detective and I have to do a LOT of background work just to get basic information for each patient and complete my job tasks.

Normally I would be doing this until 9:00pm, when visiting hours are over.  Since we’re doing everything over the phone, we’ve decided to stop calling at 8:00pm, out of courtesy.  We also decided I would not be going down to the Emergency Department after my lunch because I am at high risk of developing complications if I were to contract Covid-19.

My shift is 5:00pm-5:00am, and I’m not calling people after 8:00pm.  You’re probably wondering how that works out.  Let me tell you: I call people for three hours, work through some office work that usually takes me about fifteen minutes, and then… nothing.  Practically absolutely nothing.  That’s nine and a half hours of very little to do.  Of course, more patients come up throughout the night, but I can’t register them since we’re not calling anyone after 8:00pm.  The most I can do is search for and load, and/or verify insurance.  That usually just takes about five minutes at most.

Needless to say, I get pretty dang bored.  Did I mention I work by myself?  I have one co-worker who works with me for about four hours at the beginning of my shift, but after that? It ain’t nobody but me.  I am very much an introvert, but being stuck in an office for eight hours with very little human contact is so very boring.  It’s especially lonely because I’m not able to go out and shop or hang with my friends on my days off (thanks Covid).  Being isolated 25/8 has been taking a toll on my mental health for sure, but I’m making it through.

I wanted to add a couple other different things that have been going on here at the hospital.  Everyone must wear a mask whenever you are on a unit or traveling through the hospital.  I kind of feel like this is problematic because everyone says the US has very little PPE, right?  Why do I need to wear a mask to the bathroom in the middle of the night when no one is here?  Or when I’m walking down the hall that’s like twenty feet wide.  I think everyone can keep their distance in these large common areas.  But what’s really wild is that very recently, the hospital installed this massive monitor and big heat-detecting camera that apparently checks your temperature.  It sounds a massive, annoying-as-hell alarm if someone has a fever.  Everyone who is not an employee has to be “examined” by this camera and monitor.  It’s just so extra to me; it’s quite funny.  I’d like to know how much it cost.

I feel very blessed to be working during this crazy time.  Even though I am working in a hospital, I feel protected and safe.  Having some sort of normal routine has been great for my mental health. If I wasn’t working, I would have probably lost it a month ago.

 

I hope everyone is doing well amid the pandemic.  I’m praying everything returns to normal soon.  I want to have a happy, fun, healthy summer!

 

What have y’all been doing to keep yourselves occupied?

 

 

Much Love,

MCC

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