Getting Through the Pandemic Together in Burlington, Vermont

"Every morning I walk in with my mask on and get my temperature taken at the hospital’s entrance."

April 21, 2020

“I started my job as a Certified Pharmacy Technician at the University of Vermont Medical Center in January 2020. I work in the inpatient pharmacy and I love my job.

I remember the day when they said Coronavirus reached the USA. That day we talked with a friend about the first reported case in the state of New Hampshire, which is our neighbor state. We hoped that the virus would not reach us. But unfortunately, it did. When the news about the first confirmed case in Burlington, VT came out, we were all worried and anxious. For us in the pharmacy it meant that changes were coming, and that we all would be affected. So this is what my day looks like during the pandemic.

Every morning I walk in with my mask on and get my temperature taken at the hospital’s entrance. Then I proceed to the main pharmacy, where I start preparing my cart with medications to be taken to the floors. We have several floors dedicated to COVID-19 patients and PUI (persons under investigation). After I’ve checked medications on my cart, I set off on my run. On COVID-19 floors we deliver medications only to the designated areas, and nurses transfer meds to patients. This is done to protect pharmacy staff from unnecessary exposure. After all meds have been delivered, I go back to the main pharmacy and prepare for the next run. Sometimes unexpected things happen, like moving all the patients from one floor to another to create space for possible new COVID-19 patients. Then there is a lot of work, such as unloading Pyxis, moving patients’ meds, returning meds to the carousel, etc. I like doing this extra work because we’re doing this for our patients and to protect our community.

For my colleagues at the UVMMC pharmacy as well as all pharmacy technicians out there I’d like to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU for coming to work every day. THANK YOU for all the great jobs you’ve done and keep doing every single day. THANK YOU to all those moms and dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends out there in the pharmacy for being there because that is where you’re needed the most right now. THANK YOU for your courage and dedication. We will get through it. TOGETHER.”

-Elena Rutka, CPhT

University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT