In early March 2020, the Coronavirus began to impact the state of Georgia and the Atlanta area. Emory Healthcare and Emory University Hospital Midtown finalized plans for the management of the COVID-19 patients expected to present to EUHM as the Coronavirus. Unit 62 was designated as a COVID Unit as the volumes continued to climb, shortly after the team returned to their newly renovated floor. Unit 62 continued to provide COVID care until very recently and stands at the ready to be recommissioned as needed in anticipation of winter volumes. The team experienced significant challenges when illness struck the nurses and nurse techs, causing staffing shortages amid the stress of managing an aggressively contagious and unknown virus. Months later, Unit 62 is now skilled in the care and management of this very special population of COVID patients. We would like to recognize Robin Burse, Unit Director of Units 52/62, for her extraordinary leadership and devotion to the incredible team of nurses, nurse techs, unit clerks, and float staff who come in day after day and night after night to care for the patients who need them. Robin's dedication to Unit 62 and the work they are doing never waivers. She provides leadership presence and support to every discipline and to every hospital team member who enters the unit. She never fails to advocate for her nursing staff, translating the physical, emotional, and clinical demands of caring for COVID patients so that the rest of us can better support and protect the nurses and providers.
Robin joined the EUHM nursing leadership team in February 2020, just ahead of the COVID pandemic here in Georgia. She has muscled through a variety of challenges as she managed to complete orientation while addressing the needs of the patients and staff of two nursing units. Robin never waivers in her commitment and willingness to lead this nursing team as the mission continues. She serves us all as an exemplary model of nursing leadership, professional commitment, and personal strength.
As the Atlanta area began to shut down public spaces and large events, the Unit 62 staff and providers learned specialized protocols for donning and doffing personal protective equipment. The teams struggled with the fear of the unknown and worry about their own health and the health of their families. As a State of Emergency was declared, Robin and her team were focused on learning how to best reduce both contagion between patient and staff and the total isolation of the patients and the teams in the rooms with them. As shelter-in-place orders rolled out from community to community, this team was monitoring their patients for early signs of destabilization, working closely with the RUN team to assess and intervene as needed. This team escorted patients to the ICU as their conditions worsened and welcomed patients returning from their stays in critical care, with the promise of continuing vigilance and compassionate care. As the city of Atlanta slowed to a stop, Robin and her teams came to work, again and again, knowing they had tough shifts ahead that would end in physical and mental exhaustion. As the surrounding community banged pots, displayed high rise heart symbols, and donated meals in support of the healthcare teams, our nurses cared for waves of COVID patients needing care. Robin was the driving force that assured PPE was available, and when it wasn't she supported the recycling program so that long term our staff would stay protected. Robin supported innovative staffing models to reduce nurse to patient ratios and support the patients in isolation. She provided solutions for saving facemasks and shields, for organizing equipment outside every room, and for enhancing communication with the staff and patients in the rooms. Robin was, and is, a physical presence on the unit, constantly monitoring, encouraging, and comforting her team. Robin's reassuring presence and outstanding leadership abilities allowed the team to feel safe, and to know that they have the resources they need to give the best care possible. Robin lives the EHC motto "We are all in this together" and the Unit 62 nursing staff knows they are never alone in this or any other crisis.
Robin is an exemplary leader, never losing sight of the mission while remaining calm and resourceful. She has never allowed the stress and anxiety that comes with leading through such a crisis to permeate to the staff. Robin stands out as a source of strength, caring, thoughtfulness, safety, quality, and reassurance not only during the COVID crisis but every day as she leads our nursing staff in Unit 62. In honor of Robin's leadership and commitment, Unit 62 has been deemed as a COVID-outstanding unit. Each staff member will receive the newly created DAISY COVID pin in recognition of your outstanding excellence in professional nursing care during this unprecedented healthcare challenge.