Focusing on the Positive

April 2, 2020 by

By James Nataro, Karin Skeen, and Billy Petersen

We write this piece at an extraordinary time for the UVA Children’s Hospital. After several “false starts” surrounding potential pandemics, from SARS to Avian flu, one has finally hit us. Covid-19 is a serious illness for our patients and ourselves, and our response has been both serious and effective.  We take this opportunity to focus only on the positive aspects of this serious situation.

First, we have been simply overwhelmed by the passion and the courage of our workforce. In this crisis, we have seen, as never before, providers step up to care for their patients while putting themselves at risk. Our commitment to the health of Virginia’s children has been put to the test, and we have passed with flying colors.

But it is not only coming to work that impresses. We have had to quickly adopt challenging new processes, to change ways of working and interacting with each other that have evolved slowly over years. The creativity we have witnessed in every corner of the Children’s Hospital astonishes. We have learned to pursue our missions remotely: our residents are getting educated by Zoom, research meetings are happening by conference call, and clinical rounding is efficient in time, place, and person.  We are maintaining social distance. We are wearing but conserving personal protective equipment. We are showing care and compassion for families every day.

We don’t know where this pandemic is going. When new pathogens arise, all we can expect is the unexpected. But we do know that our social distancing is flattening the curve so that we will have the capacity to meet the challenge. We do know that our providers are beyond excellent and that our leaders are engaged and effective. And we do know, that as providers who care most about the welfare of children and their families, we are extraordinary people.

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