When Lindsay Kennedy took over as unit director of the UPMC Magee-Womens labor and delivery unit last November, she had no idea a novel coronavirus would soon sweep the globe — or that she herself would be pregnant during a pandemic.
But she feels fortunate to be actively working and involved in planning and preparing for COVID-19 while continuing to safely welcome new babies into the world. “I got into this profession to help people and it’s at the forefront of what I do,” says Lindsay.
As unit director, Lindsay navigates challenges and changes in the birthing center, including communicating with staff, introducing new initiatives, and improving processes. Since February, she has worked closely with hospital leadership on new procedures to protect staff and patients from the virus.
“It was on our radar very early on. It’s wonderful to see how our entire hospital has come together to handle this,” she says.
New processes include extra screening of patients and scheduling changes to ensure unit directors are present around the clock. Communication changes include virtual safety huddles (phone call-ins) to assure information is safely and consistently relayed to all 200 staff members and everyone stays current on ever-changing processes and procedures.
In addition, safety rounds are now conducted virtually, with approximately 40 midwives, anesthesiologists, physician groups, nurses, and other providers calling in every three to four hours to review the plan of care for each patient.
“Nurses on the floor take comfort in knowing that the unit directors are there 24/7 to answer questions and ease minds,” says Lindsay.
“These are very anxious times working in health care, but I have such respect for Magee and all the innovative things we’re doing here. No matter what comes our way, we have the resources and support to handle it,” she adds.
Lindsay, who is expecting her first child in August, says being pregnant during this time gives her a different perspective. Although she didn’t plan to share her good news with the staff as early as she did, she hopes her pregnancy provides them — and their patients — an added sense of comfort.
“Childbirth at any time can be scary, especially now with all the unknowns happening,” says Lindsay. “I take comfort in knowing that I personally and we as a system are doing everything possible to support and protect everyone who walks in our door. That includes our patients, my staff, and me! I see first-hand all of the planning that’s going into what we are doing to keep everyone in this hospital safe.
“People come to Magee because they trust our name. They know they’ll get the best care here. They can be more confident than ever today. We are here and we are ready.”