Humans of Adventist Health Portland

Below are the unique perspectives, joys and challenges of individuals across the spectrum of Adventist Health Portland’s team.

October 6, 2021

Alex

Emergency Room, Environmental Services

2020 was a year I’ll remember for the rest of my life. We have fought our enemy, COVID-19, and while [it] tested our strength, we kept on fighting, strapped on our PPE, disinfected all surfaces and [are] doing anything we can to make sure everyone is safe.

Everything we’ve have done gives me hope for a better future, and I’m blessed to be a part of two great departments: the emergency department and environmental services. Thank you everyone for a good fight and a job well done.


June 14, 2021


Stacy

Laboratory

I am a phlebotomist, and I work the order desk. I started in October 2020. I was looking for a good organization to work for. I really like the ethic, camaraderie and teamwork here and thought this would be the best fit. The team here is great. We have a lot of fun.

I come in at 5 a.m., and we do about two hours of morning draws upstairs and in the emergency department. Then I take over at the desk. All of the orders come through me. I have to dispatch all the phlebotomists to wherever there are orders and prioritize work to make sure everything gets done.

The coolest thing about the lab is that there are so many different areas to work in. There’s really something for everybody. It is busy, but honestly our team is great. Working with them is really the best part.


May 20, 2021

Sumas

Environmental Services

I think I actually feel safe because they’re protecting us too. To me, things are a lot the same. You are aware of what is going on. Every morning our supervisor meets with us. We stand spaced apart, and they let us know what to expect.

Last week the police and fire department came here. That made us very happy.
The rest is just being cautious [and] making sure to wear the proper PPE.


April 21, 2021


Barbara

Volunteer

I have about 30 years of retail experience, and I’m going on my 12th year volunteering here. My favorite part of volunteering is making people feel good. They come in the gift shop, and they look around. And they all say what a great gift shop this is. It’s nice to talk to people.

We all like to be here, or we wouldn’t volunteer. It’s a joy. It’s something we all look forward to.

If you want to get involved with our team, hurry up because we need you. It’s very easy. You only have to work a four-hour shift and you get a free meal. What more could you ask for?


February 23, 2021


Lauren

Emergency Room

When I received my first dose, I had a wave of so many emotions: relief, excitement, joy. But also sadness and guilt — sadness for those who lost their lives or have otherwise been affected by COVID and guilt for getting the vaccine as a relatively young and healthy person. I definitely shed some tears that day.

I know there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty about the vaccines and possible side effects, but I would encourage anyone with questions to reach out and ask from a reputable source — someone you know in health care or even your primary care provider.

A lot of what is being circulated in the news and social media is contrived from loose or false information. As for my experience, I had a sore arm for a few days after dose 1. Dose 2 brought me a sore arm and about 24 hours of symptoms: headache, body aches and fatigue. I spent a day on the couch and was back to normal afterward.

I’m hopeful that, with the vaccine, 2021 will see some kind of return to normalcy: traveling, gathering with friends and family, and HUGS! I haven’t seen my family since Christmas 2019, so I’m very excited to see them in person instead of over a screen and make up for all the stolen time with hugs.


February 4, 2021


Olivia

Emergency Room

The work environment has drastically changed amidst the pandemic. As an emergency department, we expect chaos as baseline, but this has far surpassed that. In a time that is equally mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, I am exceedingly grateful for our incredible team we get to work with every day.

The heartbreak and devastation that is ever-present can be crippling, and remembering to stay positive despite the hurdles is a constant battle. I love the saying "we are going through the same storm, just in different boats." I think that sums our situation up well; it's important to remember we are all going through this together.

With the vaccine becoming more readily available, it feels as though there's hope on the horizon.


January 12, 2021

Mikey

Patient Care

When the pandemic first began, we noticed how reluctant patients were to come into the hospital. As the pandemic progressed, things changed and I was needed in different departments. I noticed how we worked with patients, and rigorous use of PPE became the norm to keep our patients safe.

The way employees enter and leave the hospital has completely changed, as well as learning how to deal with very difficult patients, gaining more confidence and stamina in the most unpredictable circumstances.

"Unprecedented" and "grace" are words I would use to describe how this year went for me. I came out of the other side of the tunnel seeing with a new perspective than before. I didn't let uncertainty control my thoughts.

Perseverance inspired me to overcome my challenges while I juggle my personal life as well as maintaining a college and work schedule.


December 8, 2020


Raman

Interventional Radiology

I am both honored and humbled to receive the vaccine in the early stages as many millions of people are waiting patiently for their turn.

It gives me hope and relief to see the darkness over the country finally be lifted. The vaccine is undoubtedly efficacious in stopping hospitalizations and death. Nobody should be scared to take it, and [they] should encourage their friends and family to do so when it is available to them.

The government, hospitals and staff continue to face COVID-19 head-on. The vaccine is an important, game-changing weapon that in concert with continued social distancing and mask wearing will allow us to defeat COVID-19.


December 8, 2020


Eric

Emergency Room

Last week, I literally started crying as I watch a group of nurses, docs, RTs and CNAs work for hours in full COVID gear as they fought desperately to save a patient’s life. Their skill, determination and grit made me so proud to be on their team.

At my hospital, we do really amazing things with some really amazing people. And I swell with pride and some watery eyes at the work we do!


September 20, 2020

Denise

Human Performance

We’ve been rotating working in the office. I’ve been working from home a lot more than I had before. There’s a lot more communication happening with all of us. We’re talking constantly.

We’re used to having meetings in person. Now we’re having to do a lot of them over the phone or computer. I also have a very close-knit family and have not been able to hang out with them as much, which has been difficult.

I moved down here to be closer to my brother, and we lived together up until a few months ago, right when this started. I went from being super-close to my family, and now I haven’t even seen them. It’s so hard.

Everybody has really been stepping up to help each other out. I’ve heard a lot of encouraging stories and examples from family, friends and co-workers.


June 1, 2020


Sydney

Laboratory

I deal mostly with referral tests, sending things to other labs when we can’t do them here. We deal with all of our outpatient clinics here. Taking the blood specimens that were collected there and registering the patients and order the tests.

Our workload has changed dramatically. We’ve had a lot less work to do as far as our regular routine stuff. Before we started running [COVID-19 test] in house, we were sending them all to the state lab and then all of our outpatient urgent care tests [to a private lab company]. I have to manually scan and result all of those then stay in close contact in our command center and the outpatient lab to make sure everyone has their results.

I feel like it’s been a struggle adjusting everything, but everyone has done an awesome job of communicating everything and sharing updates on the newest process because things have been changing by the hour.

I’ve loved seeing how people have come together through all of this. It’s been really hard. Everybody is exhausted and stressed out. But everyone is working really hard together to make this go as smoothly as possible. It’s been nice seeing the sense of family as all the employees work together to make this go as smoothly as possible.


May 27, 2020

Kara

Phlebotomy

I am the sole care provider for my 88-year-old grandmother. She turned 88 on Feb.15, and that’s the last time I’ve personally seen her. After work I still have to drop by food and pick up her prescriptions and eye drops. It’s really hard for me because I do it on the way from work, and I have to figure out a way to do it. She's my biggest concern.

It’s hard that she can’t hug me. She cries a ton and says, “Can’t you just come in for five minutes?” We’ve devised a system where I sit in the driveway and she sits in the front window, and we talk on the phone.

I’m surprised how much the patients appreciate us. People are happy to see us coming and going to draw their blood. They’re trying to support us more than ever. I’ve had more positive patients.


May 25, 2020


Georgia

Phlebotomy

We have to gown up. We have a specific way you have to do it. But if you’re using a space helmet (what I call [the powered air-purifying respirator]), you have to put that on first. It’s just very time-consuming, especially if the patient you’re going into has compromised veins. I’ve been in those rooms 30 minutes sometimes because the veins are so hard.

We always ask the nurse if it’s a positive room and most of the time now we wear the PAPR if it’s a positive room. It’s just very busy, and it will be nice to get back to normal for a hospital.

I think everyone is trying their best to get along and take care of the patients. This morning I had a patient, and they were saying, “Oh, he’s had a really bad night.” But he likes me, and he let me draw his blood. It sometimes depends on the mood of the patient.

I will be glad when things get back to semi-normal. We’ve been busy sometimes, but not as busy as we’ve been with COVID because we’ve had to make adjustments to our schedule.


May 22, 2020

Annie

Environmental Services

People are scared to come to the hospital. But we are trying our best to keep encouraged. We’re here.

Things are not bad. They are good. We just hope for the best. We have to have faith that things will be better one day. It’s going to pass.


May 18, 2020

Randi

Adventist Health Medical Group

We don’t let him use "hate" about things he dislikes.

But Mom and Dad, addressing COVID at work full-time, and Judah, missing his kindergarten friends and teacher and turning six today, have determined "we hate the coronavirus."

And acknowledging that it’s messing up our lives allows us to keep moving forward.


May 14, 2020


Nadia

Adventist Health Medical Group

I’m scanning the patients that come in. We ask them questions [to make sure] they don’t have a cough or shortness of breath and they weren’t exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. We check their temperature too. It opened our eyes to a lot of things. You really have to pay attention to where you put your hands, give distance, stay away from people, clean our hands, and sanitize everything that comes in and out.

People are becoming very nice and appreciative of everything we do. Everybody has come together. We’re like one person now. It’s not like "it’s my department, it’s your department, it’s me, it’s you." We’re all one.


May 12, 2020


Jeanie

Patient Care

I am a constant observer, which means I sit with people who need observation. I was just hired on three weeks ago. I only did my regular duties for orientation and one four-hour shift before all this happened.

I’ve been screening people. I’m usually the runner, so I run between all three stations to make sure they have everything they need and give people breaks.
I love the environment. That’s what really drove me to come here. I want to start going to school to get my RN. I like the environment. It’s super nice and friendly. I like how everyone is looking out for each other and concerned for their safety.

One big challenge has been not irritating people, trying to be personable and make people feel comfortable with our current process, [and] keeping everyone level and happy.

It’s inspiring to see how everyone is doing their part and participating to make sure everybody is safe. All departments are involved.