Massachusetts General Hospital’s mobile COVID-19 vaccination van quadrupled its initial annual goal by providing more than 8,000 vaccinations within vulnerable communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
“Hello Doug, Coach Driscoll here. You are being drafted in the first round. We would like to ask you to help us back at the main campus.”
Following seven years working at the hospital’s main campus, Doug Cushing has spent the past three years as the operations supervisor for Massachusetts General Hospital Police, Security and Outside Services in the Charlestown Navy Yard. But when most of the research labs at the Navy Yard closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cushing got the call from John Driscoll, associate director of Police, Security and Outside Services, to return to his former stomping grounds to help the Police and Security team meet the new needs of the hospital.
“Things were changing so fast,” Cushing says. “New decisions were being made almost daily that would effect the way we were staffing the lobbies. We were trying to keep things business as usual, but it was anything but.”
With visitor restrictions, mask policies and attestation procedures being put in place, the hospital lobbies were a primary line of defense against the virus.
“The lobbies were not designed for people to social distance, stop, show us their phone, get a mask and perform hand hygiene, so there was a lot of trial and error,” says Cushing. “I would often stand in the lobby and try to see what was working and what wasn’t and make changes.”
Bonnie Michelman, director of Mass General Police, Security and Outside Services, says the department is grateful to have staff like Cushing who are always willing to go the extra mile. “Doug’s agility and welcoming of a complete change of job was wonderful. His calm demeanor mixed with his intelligence and creativity made the work during the first weeks of COVID he had done so valuable. Doug is superb with people, knows security strategy and has been a gem in helping us lead some difficult changes and execute some complicated plans.”
Staff from the labor pool, different role groups within Police and Security, and even staff from a dental practice in Danvers joined together to work in the hospital lobbies. Cushing says seeing people come together from different parts of the hospital and pushing themselves to be successful in new roles was rewarding.“People really rose to the occasion. We were all working side-by-side doing things that none of us was really familiar with,” he says. “Some of the procedures went against what we are used to as hospital police. There we were squinting at phones trying to help people with the employee attestation app from six feet away. I definitely won’t forget that.”
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