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Hospital staff treated by local financial advisor

Pies, certificates honor local nurses

Edwards Jones Financial Advisor Joe Kitchens (left) donated pies to the Perry Memorial Hospital last week during National Hospital Week. He is pictured with Kathy Blanford (from left), infection control nurse; Debora Rickard, vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer; Deb Wood, EMS/emergency preparedness coordinator; and Patricia Luker, interim CEO.
Edwards Jones Financial Advisor Joe Kitchens (left) donated pies to the Perry Memorial Hospital last week during National Hospital Week. He is pictured with Kathy Blanford (from left), infection control nurse; Debora Rickard, vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer; Deb Wood, EMS/emergency preparedness coordinator; and Patricia Luker, interim CEO.

PRINCETON — Last week, during National Hospital Week, the staff at Perry Memorial Hospital were given a treat for all the work they’ve been doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Edward Jones Financial Advisor Joe Kitchens donated Myrtle’s Pies to the staff and also surprised two women who have worked hard behind the scenes to make a lot of things happen during these challenging times.

Perry Infection Control Nurse Nancy Blanford and EMS/Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Deb Wood were each given a gift certificate to Ultimate Salon and Spa.

“A lot of their work doesn’t get seen, but we’re very grateful for it,” Kitchens said.

Kitchens said he has wanted to show his support for the hospital and staff since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“I wanted to make sure the hospital knew it was supported whether it would get busy or not,” he said.

He reached out to see what he could do and discovered providing a little sweet treat for the staff was the answer. Kitchens’ donation to the hospital staff not only put a smile on the workers’ faces and lifted the spirits of Blanford and Wood, but also supported two local businesses, as well.

Blanford and Wood were very appreciative of the acts of kindness.

Wood said she’s been preparing for a public safety crisis since 9/11.

“When the twin towers went down, hospital emergency management grew out of that,” she said. “For 19 years, I’ve been preparing for the big one, hoping in my career it never came, and we got it. I’m very proud to say I think we’re doing very well.”

Blanford echoed that last part and said the hospital’s incident command has been a great learning experience.

“The majority of my career has been in the emergency room. The last two years, I took over infection control. It’s been a great learning experience,” she said.

Perry’s incident command meets on a daily basis to discuss new COVID-19 guidance, review statistics and talk about any changes that need to take place.

Perry Interim CEO Patricia Luker has been on the job for two weeks now and she’s impressed with the work of the incident command.

“When I came, the hospital was extremely well-prepared. The incident command meets every day at 8 a.m. and then the hospital’s leadership team is pulled in at 8:30 a.m. to do a huddle to talk about safety issues going on in the county and state and discusses whether we have new information we need to let the frontline employees know,” she said. “The information is then distributed in a timely fashion.”

The hospital continues to screen people who come into the hospital. Temperatures are checked and visitors are given a mask to wear while in the hospital.

“We’re ensuring people when they come into the facility they are being protected and we’re keeping them protected,” she said.

Luker also confirmed the hospital has started getting higher volumes of patients coming back to the facility. This has prompted the need to call some of the furloughed and low census employees back to their jobs.

“As those volumes continue to come back we will be bringing staff back,” she said.

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