Alert

JUNE 15

COVID-19 Information

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On the Frontlines of the Pandemic

Amanda Bostdorf McLaughlin,

Amanda Bostdorf McLaughlin, CRNP, ’03 and her nursing colleagues at UPMC Pinnacle Medical Group in Harrisburg have been severely affected by COVID-19.

McLaughlin, who graduated from LVC with a degree in psychobiology in partnership with Thomas Jefferson College of Nursing, worked seven-days-a-week during the initial onslaught of the virus in the mid-state. 

“We worked every day to assist with the setup of testing sites, in addition to our other responsibilities, the first two-three weeks straight,” noted McLaughlin. “Probably the most difficult challenge was maintaining the same level of patient care while making sure no further harm befell our patients or staff.”

Thankfully, McLaughlin did not have to do it alone.

“My work family and real family have become stronger than we thought possible. My husband, Matt, stepped in to care for our two-year-old, Sam, so I could work with COVID patients each day, which is very scary. My work team has been fantastic; they’ve been flexible and willing to process new material and research to provide the best care for our patients.

“I wasn’t able to see my parents, siblings, or friends for 15 weeks, and as I move into different levels of care for COVID patients, I may have to isolate myself again. But, it’s comforting to know that I wouldn’t be taking that on alone; I’d have our team. It’s been amazing how we lean on each other, whether it’s grieving or supporting.”

Also on the positive side, “This situation has provided a great opportunity to promote the benefits of telehealth or video visits with a provider,” added McLaughlin. “I anticipate this trend to continue post-COVID because it helps avoid bringing frail or immunocompromised patients into the office setting and exposing them to additional risks.”

Pre-COVID, McLaughlin supervised physician and nurse practitioner assistants at four convenient care, walk-in settings, but two of the offices were closed at the onset of COVID-19. She quickly adapted, using the staff to perform nasopharyngeal swabs on patients with possible COVID-19.

“We quickly jumped on the opportunity to help and were honored to take on a new and complicated testing process,” said McLaughlin. “Every week, the procedures change as we learn more, so we continually adjust to improve as quickly as possible.

“We have adequate PPE at our testing sites, but it’s a daily task to ensure this continues, and there is still a shortage at other sites. However, our leadership was mindful of PPE management from the start and excellent about educating the staff regarding conservation. Dr. John Goldman, the physician in charge of our infectious disease and COVID-19 management, has been relentless in making sure the hospitals, outpatient sites, and staff are protected and educated with the latest information.”

As of mid-June 2020, McLaughlin and her team were testing almost 100 patients daily. “We bring the patient into a negative pressure room to ensure the test is accurate and decrease the potential for a false negative. We’ve also expanded testing to pre-op patients to ensure they have a clear COVID status before their procedure, which also helps ensure staff safety.”

McLaughlin said she feels fortunate to be such an essential part of the community. “As a walk-in site in the city of Harrisburg, we have continued to be there for our patients. I’m impressed that our area was able to bend the curve and not overextend the hospitals amidst the pandemic.”