It had been eight years since Leslie last provided patient care. But after hearing about staffing shortages due to the pandemic and the emerging need to support the COVID-19 vaccination effort in a way that didn’t pull clinicians from the bedside, she left her job with the clinical informatics team to help out.
Leslie took on the role of implementing and coordinating the vaccine clinics not only for her base facilities, but also for the greater Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities.
Brushing up on her bedside nursing skills, she plunged headfirst into this effort, gathering volunteers, nurses, pharmacists and even physicians. She gave refresher courses to volunteers who also hadn’t provided patient care in some time. She worked with the vaccine team on the innovative effort to centralize the access location. This allowed clinicians needing vaccinations to go to one main location instead of further burdening the facilities they supported.
Leslie hosted her first clinic on Dec. 17 and, in the first few weeks, averaged about 1,000 patients daily — and one day they vaccinated as many as 1,500 . Her clinics were so efficiently run that vaccinations were even extended to area first responders, including police, firefighters and paramedics. From there, they partnered with the state to extend vaccinations to private and parochial school teachers, and they coordinated small joint ventures to host community clinics across Middle Tennessee.
Leslie gathered nearly 500 volunteers representing corporate and facility-based locations. As of the end of March, more than 20,000 vaccinations had been administered throughout the Middle Tennessee region.