Days after March 9, when the first case of COVID-19 was identified in St. Louis County, my staff member Teresa Singler and I started planning out the necessary steps to quickly relocate staff to a remote environment. My biggest concern was setting up Michele Ferraro’s Telecom Group remotely because they are an essential part of our department: when our phones ring, we need to answer them!
After overcoming many hurdles, even having a backup solution lined up by Brian Faddis, PhD, and many calls to BJC and Washington University Information Technology (IT), the Telecom Group was able to answer calls remotely, from their homes.
Getting Michele’s group online, in less than two weeks, was a great success. However, more work needed to be accomplished for the department to operate remotely.
Lois Krohne and I made requests to WashU IT and answered questions from staff as they established their remote work environments. This included setting up remote delivery of important faxes, some containing pathology reports and time-sensitive patient information. Lois was a tremendous resource and help.
Staff also needed support setting up Zoom meetings, which are now part of our normal operations. My accounting staff and I now have a weekly Zoom meeting. We also have a daily morning group text initiated by Kathy Keefe who said we are all happier when we are together and in communication.
With perseverance, teamwork and mental toughness, we have been able to navigate this new environment. We do not know what each new day will entail, but we are staying strong and keeping our spirits high as we tackle the challenges of our new daily routines. I am thankful to be a part of an amazing group of staff and other managers under the unwavering leadership of Dr. Buchman and Debbie Scherr.