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Massachusetts General Hospital employees have been asked to think outside the box to ensure operations continue to run smoothly during the hospital’s COVID-19 response efforts. Among those individuals is Jennifer Prendergast, senior Human Resources (HR) Business Partner at Mass General, whose department has worked to solve the staffing needs of the hospital.
“So much of Mass General has been put to the test during this crisis—including HR—as we become deployed in other capacities, allowing a small measure of perspective in regard to what we in HR are asking our workforce to do on the frontlines, or otherwise,” says Prendergast.
With more than two decades of experience at Mass General, Prendergast stepped into a new role overseeing coordination of staffing for the labor pool’s employee mask distribution program. At the height of the pandemic, she managed a team of five.
The hospital’s labor pool staffs and supports several areas where additional staff are needed, including the N95 respirator sticker program, ventilator listening and mask distribution and attestation. The labor pool encompasses employees from almost every department within the hospital, including oncology, pediatrics, urology, research and pathology.
Prendergast says feedback from redeployed workers has been positive. “Staff have relayed to me how they find their new roles rewarding and educational. One employee described redeployment as a special opportunity that made them very proud to be an integral part of Mass General's unstoppable workforce.”
Initially, Prendergast says there were challenges in piecing together how the labor pool would work. “Not having an established process at the onset to support the large-scale nature and duration of this pandemic event was a learning curve for us all, and we needed to learn to put the pieces of a process together as we were doing it—and then refine it as we progressed to meet the demands.”
The early days of problem-solving have given way to a greater sense of pride. “It is fulfilling to be part of an organization that has genuinely worked to ensure its workforce is taken care of—financially and otherwise—in such an unprecedented time,” says Prendergast. “Each time I see Mass General in the news for all the exceptional work it is doing in every corner of the hospital, my pride of being an employee grows.”
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