April 3, 2020

Scenes from VUMC show changes and dedication in COVID-19 planning and reaction

The Medical Center mobilized to prepare to care for COVID-19 patients while continuing to care for each other as colleagues.

on March 27. COVID screening and testing was primarily available at walk-up clinics all over the region. Photo by Susan Urmy

The Medical Center plaza at midday, normally filled with people, grew much quieter as more people worked from home and social distancing became necessary. Photo by Susan Urmy

Photos and reporting by Susan Urmy, Donn Jones and Erin O. Smith

VUMC officials began planning in January for the pandemic of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That planning, as well as the reaction to events as they unfolded, have brought together colleagues from all over the Medical Center as they work through, in the midst of an unprecedented situation, how to best care for patients and protect and enable employees.

At the beginning of March 2020, restaurants and movie theaters were open, sports fans were looking forward to the NBA playoffs, March Madness and the beginning of the baseball season, and a trip to the grocery store did not seem like a risky act.

The past few weeks have changed the world, and, of course, have changed Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

VUMC News and Communications photographers Susan Urmy, Donn Jones and Erin O. Smith provided these glimpses into some of VUMC’s people and places during this historic time.

Cory Smeltzer, RN, BSN, a Clinical Staff Leader, helped start and writes on the Kudos Wall set up by nurses in the PACU holding area on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. During these challenging times the wall of positive notes allows employees to take a moment to brighten someone’s day, encourage each other, and stay positive. Photo by Donn Jones
Giovanni Suarez, PhD, a research fellow in Gastroenterology, works on testing specimens Monday, March 30, from individuals who were tested for the coronavirus in The Vanderbilt Clinic. Labor Pool employees have been reporting to VUMC labs to pitch in to process tests. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Pending COVID-19 samples are prepared for testing in the clinical laboratory at VUMC. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Hospital beds set up for potential COVID-19 patients are seen in the E Pod, a dedicated unit set up by the Emergency Department. The E Pod, a climate controlled area located in the Medical Center East parking garage across the street from Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, was created as a proactive movement by VUMC to handle a potential surge in COVID-19 patients. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Megan Giska, RN, is ready for a patient in the COVID-19 screening area on the VUMC campus on March 27. COVID screening and testing was primarily available at walk-up clinics all over the region. Photo by Susan Urmy
Kirstan Grise, patient transporter, Margaret Lunde, APRN, FNP-BC, and Joshua Crawford, radiologic technologist, working at the COVID-19 screening center at VUMC. Photo by Susan Urmy
Signs were placed in waiting room seats in The Vanderbilt Clinic to remind patients about the importance of social distancing. Photo by Erin O. Smith
VUMC Valet attendant Oscar Escobar performs a temperature screening on Esther Hightower-Scott, a medical receptionist at VUMC. Valet service was discontinued (except at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center) in order to allow better social distancing, and many valet attendants volunteered to perform temperature screenings on employees. Photo by Donn Jones
Judy Mazny, LPN, speaks with a patient via a video conference call while looking over the patient’s information at the Eskind Diabetes Center Monday, March 23. The number of patients being seen by providers using telemedicine has greatly increased since the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo by Erin O. Smith
An encouraging message on a laboratory white board. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Mary Katherine Rambo of the VUMC Adult Emergency Department sends a message with her gloved hands while working at Screening Center at VUMC. Photo by Susan Urmy