We are shining a light on our #healthcareheroes. Meet Hospitalist Grace Kwon, M.D.
What inspires you to be a caregiver?
It’s such a privilege to be able to take care of patients when they are so sick and vulnerable. I’m inspired by the healing process and that, for the majority of our patients, we are able to discharge them feeling better and on the road to complete recovery.
How has your typical workday changed? What work are you doing or doing differently because of COVID-19?
The most profound change has been the increased focus in dealing with personal protective equipment (PPE) and all of the precautions we now take to keep ourselves, our colleagues and our families safe. I approach every task and movement at work with deliberation and a heightened awareness of safety. All of our meetings and hospital rounds have become “virtual” which has been quite an adjustment for me. I really miss seeing my colleagues’ smiles, participating in our weekly lunch gatherings and being able to sit down face-to-face with other caregivers.
Care for patients with COVID-19 has evolved into an incredibly collaborative process that involves critical input from our Infectious Disease and Intensive Care colleagues and relies on the assessments made by our nurses, techs and rehab and respiratory therapists. We also work closely with case managers and social workers to provide safe discharge plans for our patients. I’m amazed by the super team dynamic that exists now.
Another unique aspect of our care on the COVID-19 units has been the ability to use video technology via iPADS to communicate with patients from outside their rooms. It allows us to connect with them while preserving PPE.
What is keeping you motivated during these uncertain times?
I have an incredibly supportive family at home as well as both near and far. I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, daughter, in-laws and parents. They understand how my work life has changed because of COVID-19 and they have accepted and adapted to our new normal. They truly are my biggest cheerleaders. I also have an incredible work family, including a dozen or so hospitalists who spend most of their time at Wilmington Hospital. They have faced COVID-19 with courage, calm and curiosity. They have supported me and each other in a way that is beyond extraordinary. I am so proud to work with them.
What advice do you have for your fellow caregivers?
This has certainly been an intense and stressful, if not fearful, time for many of us. ChristianaCare has done a phenomenal job of keeping us updated about the status of COVID-19 in real time. Social media and news outlets are inundated with COVID-19 updates. It’s hard to distance yourself from this illness but if you can, take a break. Go for a walk or hike; set up a Zoom meeting with your closest friends; take a drive on the back roads … and if you are struggling, reach out. Talk to a friend, a colleague, a family member or Care for the Caregiver.
What advice do you have for the community?
I would urge all Delawareans to proceed with caution, wash your hands and wear a mask! With recent openings of certain businesses, our state’s beaches and other public places and establishments, every single person needs to act responsibly. It’s been a challenging few months for all of us but I’m confident we can move our lives forward while continuing to care for ourselves and others.
For local resources for your health and wellness, visit our coronavirus support page.