Johns Hopkins Children's Center administrator Stacey Mann knew the surge of pediatric patients with COVID-19 during the Christmas and New Year's holidays required extra logistical and physical muscle.
She normally handles space-related and facility issues, and has operational oversight of Children’s Center areas such as child life services, social work, respiratory therapy, nutrition and pediatric ambulatory services. But during the past few weeks, she and a team of colleagues, including those in the facilities department and Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, have helped repurpose several spaces in the Children’s Center — not only handling the back-end logistics but also moving furniture and building negative pressure units (rooms that isolate patients with contagious, airborne illness). As a mother of two, putting in some extra time, even around the holidays, was a no-brainer.
“I do this job every day because it’s important to me as a mom, and I know it’s important to all the other moms and dads and families out there,” Mann says.
While she is just one of many staff members who regularly go above and beyond, she and others have stepped up those efforts to meet the many challenges that COVID-19 poses.
For Mann and her colleagues, that meant donning scrubs on New Year’s Eve and setting up a nine-bed unit to increase the number of negative pressure beds as a wave of patients who were COVID-19 positive came through the pediatric emergency department and were admitted. Then, the team established four urgent care exam rooms for patients under COVID-19 investigation.
“I have a lot of background in operations and some disaster management training,” Mann says, “so this kind of work really invigorates me.”
Additionally, Mann and her co-workers set up a seven-bed unit to add more pediatric intensive care negative pressure beds, and then, after a research clinic was moved, they created a nine-bed negative pressure ambulatory clinic so pediatric patients with cancer and other specialty patients who also have COVID-19 could keep receiving treatment.
“One of the things that brings me the most joy is watching people work together to accomplish tasks that normally would take weeks and doing them in a day and a half,” Mann says. “We’re making a difference for our patients and families.”
She has been with Johns Hopkins for 22 years, working as a respiratory therapist and director of pediatric respiratory care services before starting her current position in April 2020. All of this extra work and all the extra hours are part of the calling, Mann says.
“This is where I started my career; this is where I’ll end my career,” she says. “I do everything I do for our patients and families.”