Written By: Tiffany Buckley, PharmD, BCPS, Advanced Practice Pharmacist
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Helping Hands stories authored by School of Pharmacy faculty, staff, students, trainees, and alumni who stepped up to assist their family and friends, colleagues, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus has quickly transformed life as we knew it. While this pandemic has brought much destruction, it has also highlighted the human capacity for resilience and flexibility in the face of adversity.
When Clifton T. Perkins, a psychiatric hospital in Howard County, Md., was inundated with staff shortages during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the pharmacy department volunteered to embrace non-traditional job roles to support essential functions such as food delivery and infection control. The normal operations of the pharmacy department were reworked to allow pharmacy staff to offer support.
To ensure patients received nutrition, Dr. Marie Mackowick, pharmacy director, and Dr. Jae Park, assistant pharmacy director, volunteered before and after their scheduled shifts to deliver morning and evening meals to patient units.
To help with infection control, pharmacy staff worked alongside psychologists, social workers, and physicians to help sew more than 800 masks for patients. Dr. Mackowick spearheaded sewing operations, delegating tasks and teaching novices sewing techniques. Dr. Park played a vital role in the mask-making assembly line, performing the final step of pleating and putting ear loops on masks. Erika Kreidler, pharmacy technician, utilized her prior sewing skills to flawlessly craft masks. I also learned how to sew, which allowed me to assist and teach others.
Dr. Nate Darling, pharmacist, worked diligently with pharmacy technicians Courtney Hankerson and Sharice Coleman to ensure that pharmacy operations ran smoothly, and that there was no delay on medication administration.