Park City Hospital worker says pandemic has been challenging, rewarding
Park Record intern
Mid-March in Summit County was an unusual time to say the least. Eileen Finan, infection prevention and employee health coordinator at Park City Hospital, recalls a night during that time when Summit County’s coronavirus cases began to increase. After having trouble sleeping, Finan arrived at work early, around 4 a.m., and checked in with the staff around the units, as she would typically.
Something about that day was different and the changes in their demeanor transparent.
“I could see and hear the fear and concern that they had.” Finan said. “That’s what I think drove me … to be here maybe extra hours than I normally would be because I just wanted to make sure that they know they’re supported.”
Since then, she has watched as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the majority of lives around the world. But for Finan and other health care workers, the change has been even more drastic. Finan’s job involves preparing personal protection equipment, monitoring medical equipment and addressing any employee questions or concerns. Over the last several months, Finan has added a lot more hours to her workday and has worked to strengthen her visibility within the hospital and to ensure the safety of the staff and patients who need care.
While most workers in the hospital are treating outside patients, Finan considers her patients to be the employees, be they nurses or doctors or housekeepers or food service workers.
The support from the hospital community and the tenacity of the people she works beside have invigorated Finan, she said, allowing her to persist through the challenging circumstances the pandemic has presented.
“These are my heroes,” said Finan, “and that’s what gives me the passion to keep coming back every day.”
As the pandemic has progressed, Finan has noticed less reluctance toward interaction at the hospital. When the pandemic first started, Finan noticed that some patients were frightened to come to the hospital, avoiding eye contact and making a large effort to walk around each other, she said. Now, she is noticing more people going out of their way to make friendly eye contact, making up for the smiles that masks may cover.
The hospital isn’t the only place that Finan has noticed the affects of the pandemic. She has seen Summit County change drastically, as well, as the community has grappled with the coronavirus.
“You know, going to a grocery store has never been the same since March hit,” she said.
Finan, who has worked in health care for more than three decades, said seeing community members struggle with finding the right and safe balance of interaction has been difficult. The change has been challenging for her, too. Coming from a big mid-Western family, Finan finds that connection is incredibly important. While the internet and social media have been effective in allowing her to keep up communication, Finan is still missing physical connection with her loved ones. But, she has been enjoying the outdoors with family she lives with in Francis, appreciating the beauty Utah has to offer.
While case numbers have mostly been encouraging in Summit County since the initial wave of cases, Finan states that the battle against COVID-19 is not over yet.
“We just have to stay nimble … as far as realizing things can change as more data is available and more things become available,” she said. “We have to flex to that to make sure again that we’re keeping our folks, our caregivers, our employees, staff safe, as well as the patients.”
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Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts will require employees to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus for the ski season, the Colorado-based firm said on Monday. The move by Vail Resorts to require vaccinations is significant with the firm being one of the largest employers in Park City and surrounding Summit County.