Almost a dozen National Guard members were deployed to Jennie Stuart Health last Monday, Oct. 4 and have been providing assistance to many departments within the local hospital to help alleviate pressure on the staff from the recent COVID-19 pandemic resurgence.

Jennie Stuart’s Safety and Service Assistant Vice Principal Jayme Tubbs shared with the New Era the impact of the Guard members’ assistance, sharing that the local staff is grateful for their support.

National Guard members have been providing assistance to the hospital for a week now supporting various departments.

The New Era previously reported that 11 National Guard members would be deploying at JSH to provide support and assume non-medical, logistical and administrative assistance to help relieve the pandemic’s stress on JSH.

Tubbs shared that some members have been providing support in the materials management department by helping stock shelves and receive shipments, while in the emergency department members have been helping by turning over rooms for the next patient.

Other members are assisting the hospital’s health supervisors by picking up and delivering needed supplies to various departments depending on their needs and some are assisting the employee health nurse with paperwork regarding employee flu shots.

Members have also been assigned to one of the hospital’s medical/surgical floors answering phone calls and the hospital also has one member providing an extra hand in environmental services for cleaning, floor care and trash collection.

“It’s been great, really,” Tubbs said of the National Guard’s help locally.

“That extra person there to help provide support to these various areas just takes some of that workload away from our team so it allows our teams to be a little more efficient and a little more focused on their work, because they are pulled in fewer directions and they have that kind of dedicated support and help with the National Guard soldier that’s assigned to them. It’s been very helpful.”

The members deployed are currently expected to stay here locally to assist for a two week period from Oct. 4 through, at least, Oct. 15. However, their stay could be extended based on need and demand, according to a previous press release from JSH.

Guard members that have been deployed at JSH have to follow specific guidelines during their time at the local hospital, including that they will not be able to act as security and will not be allowed to provide direct patient care.

They will also not be able to come in contact with a known COVID positive patient.

Tubbs shared that while the Guard members’ help has been effective in helping relieve COVID-related pressures, after their deployment ends, JSH staff will likely have to pick up where they left off prior to their deployment.

“The impact they’ve had on us has been very positive — they are positive individuals, they’re hard workers and they’ve been a great help to us while they’ve been here, but certainly, when they’re not here then that just kind of puts us back where we were before they got here,” Tubbs said.

“And that’s ok. We will do it just like we have been and we will be fine, but we have really appreciated their service and their sacrifice and the help that they have provided to us while they are here.”

Tubbs added that JSH is continuing to recruit various positions within the hospital to further help with the added pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are and have been constantly recruiting for various positions and we’ve got a lot of open positions as many other — not even just healthcare — a lot of industries have plenty of open positions and work available,” Tubbs said.

“We’ve been recruiting for our open positions since we’ve had them and we are constantly looking at ways to get that information out there and hire and retain the people that we have.”

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