What prompted you both to write the poem, Corona?
KS: Well, we’d written one for Christmas about two years ago. Then one day in the midst of the pandemic we were talking — I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with everything we were going through. We said, “You know, we need something funny and uplifting.” So we just decided, “Let’s write a poem about our experience right now.” And we did! It was something fun and positive to do during a time when there was a lot of anxiety and so much was unknown.
What were some of the lessons you learned following the first COVID-19 surge?
KS: We definitely learned a lot from our experience with PPE, as many facilities did. We learned how to disinfect better and to extend our cleaning protocols to things like our portable equipment. And schedule-wise, we learned how to handle the volume very well — spreading out our patients in the ICUs and making sure our staff members were safe.
Do you have advice for how radiologists and RTs can work together better, particularly during the ongoing pandemic?
KS: I feel like we have a great working relationship with our radiologists. In general, we appreciate it when radiologists are understanding of extenuating circumstances if/when we can’t get the best possible images. We’re in aprons, covered in equipment, many of us are doing portable chest X-rays where patients are prone and on cooling blankets, and we’re trying not to move them because they’re so sick. We do our best to collect the best possible image — but sometimes we get what we get.
Also, try to remember to be kind to and compassionate with your frontline colleagues. You never know what they may have had to experience in a particular day. For example, at our hospital, a lot of people have had to watch their family members pass away via FaceTime. So our nurses faced the unimaginable task of facilitating a FaceTime call between a dying patient and their loved ones. It was heartbreaking. But they were so compassionate in terms of helping these families get some sort of closure. I’ve seen an RT sit with a patient so they didn’t have to die alone. Seeing these patients and their family members, knowing that’s the last memory they have together — it’s sad for us too. It’s something we take home. That’s what we wanted to showcase by sharing our poem with the world: when we come to work, we work together, and we do the best we can.