Northwestern Medicine

Helping Hands Serve Patients During Historic Blizzard

Northwestern Memorial Hospital February 02, 2011

Thousands of employees and physicians weathered the historic winter storm and hundreds more volunteered by working extra shifts, enduring marathon commutes and pitching in wherever helping hands were needed.

CHICAGO, IL – More than 200 employees spent the night at the hospital or at downtown hotels during the storm to make sure they were available to report to work while the snow crippled the city and surrounding suburbs and left many employees stranded at home.

Employees responded to the call for additional workers to support patient care and hospital operations. Many of them braved the aftermath of the storm to report to work in areas outside of their usual assignments to help with tasks such as transporting patients, delivering food to patient rooms, washing dishes and answering phones. The supply of employee volunteers far exceeded the demand.

“Northwestern Memorial Hospital has always been a home away from home for me and it has literally been that way for the past few days,” explained Levern Raymond, a patient registration representative who stayed overnight in Prentice Women’s Hospital on Tuesday so that she would be available first thing on Wednesday morning. She, like many others, anticipated the need for additional workers and planned ahead by bringing an overnight bag to work on Tuesday with extra clothes and personal items. “I was concerned that people would be unable to come in and I was willing to stay.

“I know our patients need us, so I decided to pitch in where I could,” she said.

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