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York College Nursing Department donates much-needed supplies to aid COVID-19 relief

April 08, 2020
Diehl Hall York Together

When Patty Myers, RN ’81, Nursing Lab Coordinator in the Stabler Department of Nursing ordered personal protective equipment (PPE) kits in January, they were not available. So, she says, “We made up our own kits from separate masks, eye protection, gowns, head coverings, gloves, and shoe coverings.” You might get the idea from this that York College of Pennsylvania faculty, students, and staff are pretty adept at being innovative. You’d be right.

Requests from the community

Fast forward to March 20 as the world realized lives could be saved if healthcare providers had the supplies they needed, when Patty says “long after I’d given up hope of receiving those PPE kits, they arrived.” Just in time because when Patty reached out to Dr. Dawn Becker RN, ’87, the nursing school liaison at WellSpan York Hospital to ask if they needed any of the College’s supplies, Dawn was quick to reply that they would be happy to have them. She came to pick up 30 PPE kits as well as another 15 kits that were left over from those that had been hand-assembled, a dozen pairs of safety glasses, and two boxes of shoe covers. 

That same day, Dr. Janet Powell, Interim Dean of the College’s School of Nursing and Health Professions passed on a request for masks from Rest Haven nursing home. In response to this request—again, on the same day—Allison Malachosky, Dr. Powell’s Executive Assistant, delivered two boxes of masks, three cases of gloves, and several large bottles of hand sanitizer to Rest Haven.

Stepping Up

Patty Myers and the Stabler Department of Nursing were on a roll. She had ordered an additional supply of masks in early March because first-year student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) had been told they could not participate in observation experiences in the operating room (OR) unless they brought their own masks. Shortly after that, their observation experiences were suspended. Patty was able to get these masks from Dr. Amy Reed’s office. That made an additional box of 50 masks. Dawn Becker “came to pick this up on March 23 as well as a few other odds and ends I found,” Patty says.

The request for the ventilator came from the UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg Hospital on March 24, but they were unable to free up a truck to come and get it until March 26. “Just by coincidence I was in Diehl Hall that afternoon, gathering some supplies to mail to students so they could do their remote skills check-off on setting up a sterile field,” Patty says. “I got a call from UPMC that a driver could come in 45 minutes so I just waited.” 

Thankful to Help

While she waited she received an email from an adjunct faculty member in Nursing, Audra Johns, about the request for thermometers from The York City Bureau of Health. “I pulled together those supplies making sure to include plenty of probe covers and delivered them to City Hall after the ventilator was picked up,” she says. The College supplied just over two dozen small electronic thermometers and glass, non-mercury thermometers for use by York City firefighters and police officers.

Help for the community didn’t end on March 26. Patty says a request for sterile gloves and hand sanitizer arrived on April 1 from Margaret Moul Home, and she’s bringing “five boxes of 50 sterile gloves and the last of our hand sanitizer” there. 

“I’ve always been gratified that the College allows us a budget that enables us to have plenty of supplies for each nursing student. Disposable supplies don’t have to be used over and over by multiple people; each student can use fresh equipment. Otherwise, we would not have had anything that was appropriate to share with our community partners.” Patty says, and adds, “I’m glad that I was able to play a small part in helping to keep our local healthcare partners and first responders protected during this crisis. It felt great knowing that our administration fully supported any help we were able to provide.”