Health care hero: Physician Assistant Lisa Gahagen
Helping patients heal so they can return home to the people and things they love'
We are shining a light on our #healthcareheroes. Meet Physician Assistant Lisa Gahagen, PA-C.
What inspires you to be a caregiver?
I am inspired by the beauty of the human connection. There is nothing more special than helping someone to heal so that they can return home to the people and things they love. On hard days, I reflect on the cases I have been involved in that resulted in a great outcome for my patient, and it centers me.
How has your typical workday changed? What work are you doing or doing differently because of COVID-19?
Things have changed pretty radically for me and my advanced practice clinician (APC) colleagues during this time. Our units — Medical Intensive Care at Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Intensive Care — have been the locations for cohorting the critically ill COVID-19 patients, and we have been caring for these patients for several months. There has been a great deal of uncertainty, stress and anxiety but also a lot of pride in the work that we are doing. My team always rises to the challenge, and this was no exception. Caring for our population requires the ability to adapt as the data is constantly changing with regards to this novel disease.
Our daily work flow has been altered in various ways as well. Some examples include cross-training other APCs who graciously offered to help out in our units during these hectic times and transitioning our family communications to virtual modalities.
What is keeping you motivated during these uncertain times?
My team is my motivation and inspiration; we are like a family! I think the high stress environment of critical care creates a special bond, and the pandemic has amplified that. I am proud to be part of such a high-functioning, intelligent team.
This is both in regards to my APC colleagues as well as the physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and environmental service workers who keep our units running smoothly. There is always someone willing to lend a hand or provide emotional support when needed.
On a more personal level, I am focusing on gratitude and have been keeping a journal where I jot down a few things I’m thankful for each day. Also, getting outdoors and maintaining a regular exercise schedule has been crucial for my well being.
What advice do you have for your fellow caregivers?
Be sure to take time for yourself to do things that create joy. Stay connected with close friends and loved ones, whether it’s a virtual visit or a phone call. Most importantly, if you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or other issues related to the pandemic, reach out for help. Don’t suffer alone.
What advice do you have for our community?
Practice kindness. We are all in this together, and we each have our individual struggles related to this pandemic. On a more clinical note, please continue to be vigilant about social distancing; our efforts have saved lives and it’s important to be mindful of how we move forward.
For local resources for your health and wellness, visit our coronavirus support page.