As we celebrate National Nurses Week, here is a message from Genemarie McGee, Sentara Corporate Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

National Nurses Week: A message from our Chief Nursing Officer

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A Message from Genemarie McGee, Sentara Corporate Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer:

2020 has certainly been a year no one could have predicted! As we celebrate National Nurses Week, I am so humbled by our nursing team here at Sentara Healthcare. Our nurses have risen, and continue to rise every day, to the challenge of COVID-19 in a way that focuses on high quality, compassionate care for the patients and families ravaged by this virus.

We saw this virus impact every part of nursing within our system. From hospitals, home health, long term care, to our nursing college, simulation center, medical groups, Optima, IT, and hospice. In each division, I have seen nurses spend countless hours taking care of patients at the front line, and others spending countless hours to develop, train and improve our response to support those at the front line.

Our educators, quality nurses, procedural and surgical nurses quickly stepped up to be trained to support our medical and ICU teams if needed. Clinical instructors from our nursing school assisted our simulation center in managing a fast-track orientation to augment our front line teams. Our home health nurses took great care of the COVID-19 patients we discharged home, our Optima nurses reached out to their members to give pertinent information and calm fears. Our medical group nurses and clinical staff managed our COVID-19 drive-thru screening and testing centers and assisted in our public information call center. To say I have certainly been impressed by our nurses’ response would be an understatement.

I also have to say I have been as awed by our company, Sentara Healthcare’s response to this crisis. Our leaders were very clear from the start; we are committed to caring for our communities to the best of our abilities while ensuring our staff and providers have the supplies and equipment needed to ensure their safety. I’ve witnessed so many leaders putting in long hours, day after day to make sure we have safe testing centers for our community, securing hard to get and expensive personal protective equipment (PPE), quickly creating our own internal testing lab in 10 days, and running an Incident Command Center at each hospital, facility, and at a system-wide level.

So as we celebrate Nurses Week 2020, the year of the nurse, it’s clear nursing is facing one of its most challenging times and diseases. But nurses, being the superheroes they are, are facing these challenges in an uplifting, professional, and patient-centered manner. I am proud to be a nurse and one of the leaders of this impressive team of nursing professionals.