Everyone faces first-day challenges on a new job but not many walk into a pandemic

Calvin in protective gear banner
Calvin Vijandre, RN, started his job in February

When Jonathan Chapple prepared to start work at the Intermountain Medical Center Emergency Department in mid-March as a critical care tech who would often be working with COVID-19 patients, he realized his job had completely changed since he’d accepted his job offer. Now it was a calling.

Jonathan Chapple sized

Jonathan Chapple started his job as a critical care tech in March.

“The pandemic didn't dissuade me from taking the job at all,” he says. “It actually motivated me to have the highest standards of cleanliness and efficiency I could have. It inspired me to serve better and to live up to a higher level of care. I feel like it’s more of a calling instead of just a job.”

Jonathan helps patients who have just begun their fight against the virus. He is one of several caregivers who started working at Intermountain Medical Center just as patients began coming to the hospital seeking relief from COVID-19. 

Calvin Vijandre, RN, who started working in February in the Medical Telemetry Unit where most COVID patients are now treated at the hospital, says he also saw the pandemic as an opportunity to serve people when they really needed it. 

“I got my diploma and I wanted to be a nurse,” he says. “This is what I've studied for, so I just jumped right in.” 

He says he prays a lot that he’ll be protected and that his patients will recover. 

“I think as long as I'm doing the best I can to practice proper hand hygiene, put on the right equipment, and follow the CDC guidelines and hospital policies, then that's all I really can do,” he says. “I've never been afraid to just jump into the fire and help someone.”

Calvin in scrubs

Calvin Vijandre, RN, started in February.

Morgan Day, RN, started working in March in the Medical Telemetry Unit, where COVID patients are now treated. 

“I did think, oh, this isn’t what I had in mind when I graduated from nursing school,” she says. “I hope I’m prepared. It was a little scary at first because there were so many unknowns, but Intermountain has been helping us get the training we need and that’s been reassuring.”

 “COVID is not the same as the flu because patients can decline so fast,” she says. “They’ll need very little oxygen and within 30 minutes or less they're suddenly struggling to get enough oxygen and they need to be intubated. It’s a pretty quick transition when you suddenly need to get them to the ICU and get them more critical care.”

She says COVID patients require regular attention.

“I’m constantly checking in on them just because I know they can crash so quickly, so that’s always a worry,” she says. “Am I going to catch it soon enough? Are we going to get them to ICU soon enough to get them the care they need?”

She says her patients worry about who they might infect or have already infected once they’ve tested positive.

“They're really concerned about their families and what might happen to them when they go home.”

Lauren Monson sized

Lauren Monson, RN, started new employee orientation in March. 

She says her patients worry about who they might infect or have already infected once they’ve tested positive.

“They're really concerned about their families and what might happen to them when they go home.”

Mindi Dellinger, RN, nurse manager says she has been impressed with how well the new grads in her unit have adjusted. 

“It has been challenging to keep up with the continual changes that are happening day to day,” she says. “It’s already very difficult as a new grad with all they have to learn, then adding this pandemic made it even more difficult. During this time Calvin and Morgan stepped up to serve their patients and keep them safe.”

The day Lauren Monson, RN, came in for new employee orientation in March was the same day California issued its shelter-in-place directives.

“So, I was kind of like, ‘Wow, the very day I'm starting a new job in healthcare is the day a world-wide pandemic is really ramping up.’”

And even though she works on the Medical Endocrine floor where COVID patients are also being treated, she says she’s never felt nervous about getting the virus. 

“My manager told me Intermountain is prepared, we have PPE, and we're well protected,” she says. “The thing about the hospital is that you know there are people there who have it but everybody's being so careful and cleaning everything off, so I think it's pretty safe.”

Anna Fetzer, RN MSN, nurse manager, says that Lauren had a positive attitude from the beginning.

“It is a challenging time to be a healthcare worker, but on the other hand it’s exciting to be a part of the solution,” Anna says. “I keep telling Lauren and other RNs who started in 2020, you will never forget your first year as a nurse, this time will be impactful to the rest of your career.” 

Leave a comment on Yammer.