Administrative workers take on new roles in hospitals during pandemic


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As local hospitals continue to see a surge of COVID-19 patients, they’re getting help from people who don’t ordinarily work in a medical facility.

Over the past six weeks, more than 350 Premier Health employees who work in support and administrative roles have volunteered to help inside the company’s hospitals, according to Billie Lucente-Baker, vice president of human resources for support services.

“It’s outside of my comfort zone,” said Jenna Downey, an attorney who works in the legal department for Premier Health. “I’m used to being in an office in front of a computer or in meetings, not frontline interacting with patients.”

Wednesday was Downey’s first day on the patient transport team at Miami Valley Hospital, helping to move non-COVID patients around the facility.

“I’ll be paired up with somebody because to be honest with you, even though I’ve worked here 12 years, it’s really easy to get lost in Miami Valley Hospital,” Downey said. “It’s a big place.”

Downey told 2 NEWS she felt compelled to help the hospital’s frontline workers in any way she could. So she signed up for Premier Health’s “Helping Hands” program last week.

The employees who volunteer through the program provide assistance with hospital duties that don’t require medical training, Lucente-Baker explained.

“Restocking supplies, delivering supplies, emptying trash, helping with providing comfort items to patients,” she said.

Workers have volunteered to help across all shifts, including nights and weekends, Lucente-Baker said.

“There’s a great need, truly, and with the surge in patients at our hospitals, we want to do everything possible to support our direct patient caregivers,” Lucente-Baker said.

“I hope that our health care heroes know that they’re seen and that they’re appreciated,” Downey said. “So it’s really a privilege.”

Premier Health is also looking to hire some temporary skilled workers as part of its Helping Hands program, Lucente-Baker said.

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