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Local nurses working the frontline

Grand River clinical coordinators keep patients, hospital staff in Rifle safe as they work through the COVID-19 pandemic

Grand River Health Clinical Coordinators Tara Seeman, Amy Campagna, and Jess Menu help keep the staff and the community safe.

For Grand River Health clinical coordinators Amy Campagna, Jessica Menu and Tara Seeman battling the coronavirus pandemic has been a group effort.

Although they never work the same shift, the trio are in constant contact, conferring with one another on ideas to help the staff and care for patients.

“I think the hardest part for the three of us is that we are never working side-by-side. We are kind of a solo entity when we are here with a bunch of support from admin, which makes things a lot easier for us,” Seeman said.

“Everybody has rallied since the beginning of COVID-19, from administration all the way throughout the entire organization. It’s just been phenomenal to work with this amazing group of people,” Campagna said.

Menu said since the outbreak of COVID-19 things have changed a little bit. 

“We kind of triage phone calls as a triage nurse for the COVID line. Just trying to help keep people safe and staying home if possible. Really digging into what is going on with them to determine if they do need immediate medical care or if they can wait to go to a respiratory clinic or maintain their symptoms at home until further notice,” Menu said. “We’ve been helping educate staff on how to handle each patient that comes in with COVID symptoms.”

The coordinator on shift tracks all tests done through the respiratory clinic and ER, keeping track of negatives and positives, and keeping admin and incident command informed each night.

“We pretty much go around and help comfort people, because for some people this is a stressful time for them, worried about their families, each other and coworkers,” Menu said.

As the emergency manager, Campagna has been in charge of writing new policy for COVID-19, personal protection equipment and PAPR training.

Powered Air Purifying Respirator, or PAPR, are being used by nurses and staff to protect against COVID-19 droplet transmission.

“I help coordinate the respiratory clinic, minimizing the access to the hospital, so we limit exposure to staff and patients,” Campagna said.

Campagna also helped put together the new COVID-19 board the hospital has established, and is responsible for obtaining supplies, and limiting their use in case of a surge in cases.

“The effort that has been made by these three ladies as well as the staff and Grand River, we basically have turned the hospital on its head, redid policy, redid everything we do in a very short period of time,” hospital spokesperson Annick Pruett said.

“Working together to make sure the flow on the hospital side and the drilling Tara, Jessica and Amy have done with the staff on how to put on PPE properly, and how to safely transport a patient.”

BEFORE THE OUTBREAK

On a typical day as clinical coordinators Campagna, Menu and Seeman are responsible for overseeing the 18-20 nurses, working with staffing issues or calls-ins, helping in the department with the most need, answering questions, helping with pharmaceutical needs and coordinating admissions. 

“For example if the Emergency Room is busy do we need to stop and help triage patients, do we have any admissions that need to be done,” Menu said.

Working noon to midnight, Campagna and Seeman work one week on and one week off schedules, opposite of each other with weekends on call.

“The hardest part is that we are never here side by side together,” Seeman said.

“We kind of support each other over the phone, bouncing questions off of each other of what to do next, or ask what they would do in this situation.”

For all three, nursing has been a calling to help people in a time of need.

Working in the nursing field since 2003 and at Grand River Health since 2008, Campagna, who grew up on the Front Range, said a friend inspired her.

“I just love to take care of people, so that’s why I became a nurse,” Campagna said.

After having her first child, Menu, who grew up in Rifle, said she found the CNA program at GRH. 

“All the nurses inspired me, and I wanted more, I wanted to be able to help people when they are at their most critical moment. Make them feel better about a situation that is not really ideal for them,” Menu said.

Menu decided to pursue nursing and has been on the staff at Grand River Health for the last six years.

Born and raised in Glenwood Springs, Seeman has been a nurse for 17 years with the last nine at Grand River.

“I realized as a young adult that I always wanted to be around people, and realized I wanted to start taking care of people,” Seeman said.

“So I thought OK, I’ll try nursing school, and it is what I have loved ever since.”

The one thing that keeps the trio going through the tough times is the support from the community and their co-workers and staff.

Campagna, Menu and Seeman all said that everyone at Grand River is like family,  with a drive and phenomenal culture to care for one another and the community. 

“We are here to make people feel better, see them in a holistic manner. That includes their emotional, psychological and physical health. If one of those parts is missing then I think for every nurse it is bothersome, and so we try to look at all aspects of their care,” Seeman said.

kmills@postindependent.com


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