Area medical facilities make changes to fight COVID-19

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Millions are doing their part in masking-up and social distancing to help fight the covid-19 pandemic. But those aren’t the only changes to our daily lives.

“People just stepped up to the plate to do what was whatever was needed. “

Vice president of HR for Geisinger, Brion Lieberman, says people choose to join healthcare because they want to care for the community that they live in.

With the chaos the pandemic brought back in March, there were logistic hurdles to keep employees paid and best serve those communities.

“Reassignment was one of those things where human resources partnered with the innovations team to develop a database, and how we could match them with where we had demanded of employees.”

Some like Diane Smolko didn’t hesitate. Fresh off a move from food services hostess to guest services associate, she quickly took the mantle of hospital screener. But she was not alone.

“There were other people that were redeployed, there was nursing staff there was clinical staff. So everybody had a different area that they came from.”

It was up until august that Natalie Pheifer was driving medical staff from the Nay Aug lot to the hospital in Scranton. She applied to Geisinger for an environmental services position where she saw the good fight and darkest moments.

“I was just talking to the guy who is sitting up in his recliner. And I don’t want on a monday, and that guy passed away, so that for me is, is a wake up call. It’s how serious this is.”

More than 3,000 Geisinger employees alone have changed and evolved their profession to battle a global pandemic and it has taken its toll, but not their spirit.

“I just want to give somebody a hug. To be honest with you, that we’re all in this together, and we all stick together. We’ll get through it” says Smolko.

There are some who are going to be excited to change back to their original roles, while others have found a new calling.

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