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Kelly Reilly ’16 PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC

Female Nurse Executive with blonde hair

Vice President, Patient Experience; Vice President, Pediatric Nursing; Chief Learning Officer, Nursing
Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

March 12, 2020 - Keynote excerpts, Fitzpatrick College of Nursing (virtual) Research Sumposium

Like many medical centers, we are dealing with COVID-19 situation, and we happen to be an epicenter for the city of New York. And so I hope this piece highlights what nurses do in times of crisis and problem solving.

Nurses are inventive and so the things that nurses and healthcare providers do when they go to respond to natural disasters is they use their ingenuity to solve problems with what they have in their local ecosystem.

So my message to the frontline staff is the future of nursing is ours. We have to create it together. We have to be able to transform not only the care, but the care delivery system. We have to participate.

And right now, as I'm sitting here, I'm sorry if you heard my phone ring and my phone's going off… this COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly….

Right now we're probably going to have to pause our scholarship and some of the work that we're doing, because we now need to jump into innovating in our ingenuity to solve this problem and get ahead of it and make sure the patients and everybody are safe.

…The COVID-19 pandemic is changing us…. we're going to be investigating some of the COVID-19 innovations that we come up with, because I really think it's important to tell the story in an emerging situation.”


March 28, 2020

It’s hard to imagine that as I am typing this we are trying to figure out how to care for a surge of patients in the next 2 weeks that will increase our census by 200%. 

Within the next few weeks it may be all COVID.  We are even seeing increased numbers in OB and peds...and expect 75-90% of patients to be “rule out” or COVID positive.

The patients are from all demographic backgrounds. The numbers of doctors, nurses, and other members of the healthcare teams exposed or confirmed COVID are increasing exponentially. The disease course is somewhat unpredictable of who becomes critical. And the rapid response calls and codes seem to happen in clusters. 

Currently, there are patients on medical floors who are intubated and sedated awaiting an ICU bed, which we have already increased 100%. 

We are redeploying staff from Ambulatory and Perioperative Services to the front lines. My education team is working around the clock to support the redeployment and on boarding of travel/agency nurses as well as to support all units with the most up to date information from the Department of Health/CDC as well as the ever changing practice issues and ethical dilemmas they are facing each shift. 

Administratively, all senior level leaders are also working around the clock in the Command Center to ensure communication, resources, and support are being distributed to the front lines to the best of our ability. 

My current mission is to find as many nurses and support staff to help us surge with the changing needs and conditions. We have contracted with several agencies in order to accomplish, however, since the entire nation is going to be experiencing similar surges, it has been hard to find enough nurses based on our estimates. 


Inspired to share your COVID-19 story?

We welcome submissions from Villanova Nurses about their experience during COVID-19. Please email with your photo, name, credentials, degree/year, role and employer/location along with a brief story of your experience, your reflections on nursing and/or how your Villanova Nursing education prepared you for this pandemic.

Your submission may be used on this page and potentially on social media or in related College communication. Thank you!