Demmie Meyers, an alumna of the Clinical Leadership and Management program in the College of Health Sciences, was named a top four finalist for the University's 2020 Outstanding Staff Award because of her role in creating a screening process for UK’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital. The Office of the President and the UK Staff Senate gives this award each year to staff members who have exceeded the expectations of their position. Meyers was included in this group of exceptional individuals this year because her work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before COVID-19, Meyers’ role was acting as an administrative coordinator for UK’s Chandler Hospital. Her daily responsibilities included managing and starting project developments for the hospital. Her job was quickly transformed as COVID-19 began to take over here in the state.
When COVID-19 first became an issue in Kentucky, Meyers was chosen to work on the project because it fell under a hospital operations function. She was asked to develop a process that would screen hospital employees for the disease. Meyers redeployed her staff who were no longer able to do their regular jobs because of limited hospital function into the screening project.
Meyers came up with a plan that would assign each employee with a color for the day based on the number of COVID-19 symptoms they had. After completing the questionnaire of symptoms that Meyers and her team set up, each employee is given a blue, a green, or a red assigned color. If they have 0 symptoms, they will receive blue for the day. If they have one symptom, they will receive green for the day, and if they have more than one symptom, they will receive red for the day. Only employees who receive a blue or green are allowed into the hospital. This process was created as a way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 based on symptoms.
In addition to this screening process, stations are set up around the hospital to ensure that everyone who is in the building has completed this evaluation of symptoms. They also help manage the visitors in the hospital by ensuring that each visitor has a colored band on. Without this band, a visitor is not allowed in the hospital. Each patient is able to have one visitor – two visitors, if the patient is a child. Meyers said this requirement has caused some challenges for her and her staff.
“It has been difficult dealing with visitors who don’t agree with our policies. My staff has learned to handle this with professionalism and respond in a kind way to these people,” Meyers said.
Even after creating and implementing this in-depth process, Meyers was not expecting to be nominated for the Outstanding Staff Award. “When I got the email about the award, I thought it was a scam; I read it and I didn’t think it was real,” Meyers said.
Meyers did not ultimately win the Outstanding Staff Award, but she said that her staff and boss felt that she was a winner to them. The nomination was anonymous, but a member of Meyers’ staff later informed her that it was them who nominated her. “To know that I stood out to him as someone who deserved this award was so special to me. It meant a lot to know that he wanted me to be recognized,” Meyers said.
Meyers felt that her experience and education in the CLM program were a huge benefit in her execution of the screening project. She was able to put what she learned from the College of Health Sciences directly into the hospital’s screening system, which has been instrumental in the safety of the patients, visitors, and medical professionals.