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WellSpan Cardiac ICU nurse relies on unit’s ‘sense of family’ to get through COVID-19 outbreak

April 20, 2020

Mandy Lewis, a 20-year veteran with WellSpan’s York Hospital, says the comradery of her unit and a focus on patient care has helped her get through the most challenging moments on the job.

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Mandy Lewis, RN

Mandy Lewis, RN

There’s nothing that compares to the daily workflow changes Mandy Lewis has had to navigate on the Cardiac ICU unit at WellSpan’s York Hospital.

Her brain runs through a mental checklist of preparations long before she arrives at work each day, making sure she’s packed an extra change of clothes, shoes, a plastic bag, and food to get her through a long shift. And while she’s used to floating around different units as needs arise, she’s experiencing that a lot more frequently lately.

Even with the adjustments, the 20-year-veteran WellSpan nurse and 2020 Nurse Manager Resident says she’s never been prouder of her team for adapting so well to the needs of patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mandy is grateful to have a supportive family at home, but she also says the teamwork and family-feeling she gets from her co-workers empowers her to look beyond her stress and fear.

These are people she’s experienced life with – from new babies and birthdays to bowling, movies, and paint nights. Some of her colleagues on the unit have even rented an Airbnb together to help keep their families safe from exposure while relying on the support of the team to get through this together.

“We’re normally a very upbeat unit, and you can see that continue while we work hard to care for our patients,” Mandy says. “We have a group text going where we send out ‘I love you’ or ‘great job’ to help everyone’s mood.”

While nothing can quite compare to the COVID-19 outbreak, Mandy says, she was working on this unit when H1N1 cases were treated at the hospital in 2009. What she remembers from that time and applies to her work today is the feeling of getting through something unknown and striving to do the best for the patients.

She also finds herself calling on her faith a lot more now and believes the experience has brought her closer to her family and co-workers.

“We’re making it through this together with the goal of caring for others,” Mandy says. “That’s why I became a nurse, and that’s why this is so important for so many of us at WellSpan. There’s truly a sense of family here.”

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