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Retired nurse practitioner returns to WellSpan Philhaven to help during COVID-19 outbreak

April 17, 2020

Carolyn Haskell, CRNP, RN, does not like to keep still. So, when the Lebanon County woman heard WellSpan needed help she was ready to get to work.

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Carolyn Haskell, CRNP, RN

Carolyn Haskell, CRNP, RN

Carolyn Haskell kept hearing about the need for medical professionals in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

As a 23-year veteran military nurse and former infection control specialist, the semi-retired nurse practitioner and registered nurse understood why the military and hospitals in other states were asking her if she’d return to work. 

That’s when she decided to reach out to a supervisor at WellSpan Philhaven, a behavioral health organization.

“I knew I wanted to go back,” Carolyn says. “I emailed my supervisor and was at work the next day.”

Back to work

Carolyn started with Philhaven in 2010, working for about six years, first as an occupational health nurse and safety officer and eventually overseeing infection prevention, food service and housekeeping. She traveled throughout Lancaster, York and other areas to visit the various Philhaven locations.

When she retired, she remained on staff to help as needed with special projects but filled most of her time by volunteering with organizations including Habitat for Humanity, United Way of Lebanon County, the Lebanon Community Library and Lebanon County Christian Ministries.

But as COVID-19 spread in the region, each of those entities asked volunteers to stay at home. Not long after, Carolyn got bored reading books, doing puzzles and “drinking way too much coffee.”

Carolyn’s sister, Virginia Follett, the senior director for ancillary and support services at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, told her about the need for more nurses.

On the job

Since late March, Carolyn has been helping with employee screenings and training, as well as creating new procedures for WellSpan Philhaven staff to follow so they work safely and effectively as it relates to the COVID-19 outbreak. As the senior advisor for health and safety, Carolyn has also tried to be a sounding board for the nurses and the person managing infection prevention.

“With WellSpan, we have resources beyond our facility, so we’ve never felt like we’re alone in this,” Carolyn says. “We know these are unique situations, but we have the experts in the system who support us, and it’s a great team.”

Carolyn also chooses to wake up each day grateful for another opportunity to do something positive. 

“I’m blessed with good health and financial stability, and I feel like I should be out helping people who may not have those same blessings,” she says. “I’m not the person to sit at home all day. As long as they find me helpful, I’ll be there.”


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