What would 2020 have looked like for Hopkins County without Baptist Health Madisonville?
That question was asked by the immediate past chair of the Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Aaron Spencer, when he presented Baptist Health Madisonville with the 2020 Business of the Year Award.
“It is hard to put into words how much the business community values and appreciates each and every Baptist Health employee,” said Spencer. “Despite their fears, challenges with childcare and everything else we faced in 2020, they have never failed in their commitment to care for their patients.”
Christy Tapp, a registered nurse in the COVID-19 Unit, said the recognition from the community is a token of appreciation for what they are doing at the hospital.
“As hard as it is, as many hours as we put in and the impact it has had on staff and family, it has also had an impact on the community,” she said. “It is an appreciation award to let us know that they are supporting us and they do recognize what we are doing,” she said.
Through the pandemic the hospital staff showed up to work because that’s what they do, she said.
“We show up, and that is the most important thing because we can’t help people, we can’t fix this if we are not here,” said Tapp.
In the beginning, when very little was known about the COVID-19 virus, it was a scary time for the patients and staff, she said. The patients didn’t know what was going to happen and the staff was afraid of infecting their families.
“We have learned so much in the past year that I never dreamed we would be doing nursing and patient care this way,” said Tapp.
She said the hospital has developed ways to keep families involved by using Facetime to allow interaction with patients. In addition, staff tries to communicate with the patient’s family throughout the day despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
“It is difficult for them, they have no idea what is going on with their family,” she said.
Cathy Cobb, a registered nurse in the Critical Care Unit, said the only way staff has gotten through this challenging time is by leaning on each other and the community for support.
“In Critical Care, we have had in the beginning, more losses than victories and that is hard on families that can’t be here to hold the hand of the person they loved,” she said. “They have drawn support from us, but I have gotten a great amount of support from the families.”
Cobb said the pandemic has asked a lot of people, and she knows the community is hurting, but the best way to get through it is for everyone to do everything they can to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“It takes every single one of us to get through this, and this will forever change us, but I also think we will be a lot stronger and have better relationships,” she said.
With a hopeful end in sight, everyone has to remain diligent in wearing masks, socially distancing and getting vaccinated when able, she said.
“Nobody wants to be back with our families more than any of us, so I know the community is feeling the same way,” said Cobb.
Cobb and Tapp said the community has been extremely supportive during the pandemic through prayers and food donations.
“They have rallied us throughout the entire thing,” said Tapp.
While Baptist Health Madisonville was the first business to be recognized by the Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce, it won’t be the last as plans call for additional awards to be announced each Monday in March.