Like other hospitals and medical offices, when COVID-19 hit Western New York, Roswell Park set up central points of entry and introduced a wellness screening system for all those who enter our walls. For the past few months, the many patients, caregivers and employees who arrive on our campus every day have been screened for COVID-19 symptoms via temperature checks, wellness questions and other protocols.
Putting those new safety measures in place has been possible thanks to nearly 200 dedicated and flexible employees who were plucked from their everyday roles to fill a new one as screeners. They come from a wide variety of departments, hitting Pause on their non-urgent responsibilities and reporting to duty in the foyer to help protect our patients, visitors and staff.
Michael Burget, Senior Business Development Administrator at Roswell Park, says the experience has been “surreal, and we’re all wearing masks. But on the flip side, the screeners have all been positive and uplifting. It’s been nice to get to know patients and make those connections.”
For some, becoming a screener has resulted in unexpected benefits: They’ve gotten to know people from other departments whom they otherwise might not encounter during the day. “One of the best things is that we’ve made new friends,” says Allison Mancuso, a medical scribe who normally works with patients and doctors more than with other medical scribes. Mancuso says she and her fellow scribes have now started a group chat, “and we do Zoom calls on Fridays to decompress.”
But the screeners’ new duties do come with challenges. For one thing, their usual responsibilities don’t just disappear. Some, including Mancuso, report for early-morning screening and then go on to take care of their normal workload. Others have had to adjust their schedules for a later start so the main entrance will have screeners on duty continuously during the day. Even more difficult, at one point during the pandemic, the screeners had to turn visitors away when visitation policies changed, limiting each outpatient to one support person and eliminating visitation entirely for our most vulnerable population, our inpatients. (Since then, the policy has changed again to allow inpatients to authorize two designated people to visit — one per day.)
Through all the changes in policies and procedures, the staff members who screen for COVID-19 have remained calm, cheerful and dependable. We’re grateful to them for adjusting their work lives to accommodate the needs of our community. Thank you to all our screeners!
The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. To read the latest information on Roswell Park’s response and find additional resources, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.Learn More