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The Meaning of Care Magazine

Jennie Edmundson Employee Ambassadors Have Supported Caregivers Throughout the Pandemic

Published: March 16, 2022

The ongoing battle against COVID-19 has been fought valiantly by health care workers across the nation. It’s taken a frightening toll on patients, their families and caregivers who’ve been overwhelmed by the physical and mental exhaustion of material and staff shortages – often enduring the disease themselves to recover and face it all over again.

Throughout the pandemic, doctors, nurses and support staff at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital have gone above and beyond to care for patients and each other.

At Jennie Edmundson, there’s a battalion of employee ambassadors who act as a bridge between the Jennie Edmundson Foundation, hospital staff and various departments within the hospital.

“Our employee ambassadors help share the mission of the Foundation and how we make a difference in the lives of our employees and the community we serve,” said Tara Slevin, chief philanthropy officer for Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and Foundation. “These ambassadors answer questions for fellow staff and are an extension of the Foundation and throughout Jennie Edmundson. They also volunteer at community events and help represent the Foundation and hospital.”

There are about 40 employee ambassadors at Jennie Edmundson, and they come from every department in the hospital. They’re generous with their time and money, often giving back by donating to the Foundation’s capital campaigns and employee fund drive. Together, they contribute more than $40,000 annually, Slevin said.

Early in the pandemic, the Jennie Edmundson Foundation established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. The effort helps patients and caregivers by:

  • Assisting uninsured and/or underinsured low-income patients to cover health care costs related to COVID-19
  • Ensuring sufficient personal protective equipment, supplies and medical equipment to keep health care workers safe
  • Helping vulnerable patients who can’t shelter at home with everyday living and housing expenses
  • Providing financial support to enable health care staff to sustain their resilience

Employee ambassadors have also offered their time to support coworkers during the pandemic. They’ve provided emotional support and, with financial support from the Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, they’ve delivered food, gifts and treat bags to bolster the spirits of hospital staff.

“Even though they’re being pushed to the limit in their daily jobs and lives, they come together to extend the support of the Foundation to everyone at the hospital,” Slevin said. “They truly are angels in disguise.”

Slevin said many individuals and organizations have stepped forward to support the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. The fund has also enabled the Foundation to create “respite rooms” at the hospital to help relieve stress for frontline workers. The rooms feature massage chairs, lounge chairs, relaxing music and colorful photos.

Additionally, the Foundation purchased COVID-19 rapid testing equipment for the hospital; arranged for members of the Jennie Edmundson Volunteer Program to sew thousands of masks and surgical caps for staff; set up shower trailers and even temporary housing options for workers; and distributed Employee Crisis Connection funds to employees who needed critical financial assistance.

“To me, one thing that stood out has been the sheer endurance of everyone on the Jennie Edmundson staff,” Slevin said. “Day after day, they just kept pushing beyond where they thought they could go – and they have made it work.”

While COVID-19 continues to fill hospital beds and stretch employees to their limits, everyone at Jennie Edmundson will continue giving their all, Slevin said.

“The Foundation and our employee ambassadors will do everything possible to assist hospital staff in its ongoing mission.”

To learn more about how you can support the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, email jefoundation@nmhs.org or visit jehfoundation.org.

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