Group posing
Kathryn Mathis, left, says the teamwork at Augusta University Health is unmatched, which has helped the staff better handle the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

JagNation’s Kathryn Mathis: ‘The teamwork at our institution is unmatched’

In this new series, Jagwire will be featuring people from around Augusta University and AU Health who keep JagNation running. Email the media relations team to share your story.

Where is your spot in the JagNation?

I am an assistant nurse manager for 4 and 5 West. Both units are 30-bed Med Surge units with 4 West also housing the hospital’s trauma patients. 5 west is mainly hospitalist patients, but it has been strictly a COVID-19 unit since March 21.

How long have you been a part of JagNation?

I started at the Medical College of Georgia in January 2008 as a new graduate on 4 South and stayed there for almost two years. Then I transferred to 4 West, working there for seven years, before I transferred to MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit). After almost two years in MICU, I was offered the chance to start up the nurse navigator role on 8 South. Once that role was established, an assistant nurse manager position became available on 5 West. I applied and was hired. I have been in this current role for almost three years.

Most interesting thing about your job?  

The most interesting thing about my job is the amazing staff that I get to work with every day. The staff and the management team on 5 West are the best. Every day is a different challenge from staffing, employee issues, patient issues, and trying to ensure the unit runs smoothly. I love a challenge, so managing a very busy unit and hearing the feedback from patients and staff, whether good or bad, has been inspiring. Taking that feedback to drive change is the best part of the job because the staff can see that what they say matters.

Watch Kathryn Mathis’ interview on Fox 54.

Nurse on red bench wearing mask and blue scrubs
Kathryn Mathis was recently interviewed by FOX 54 News for a Nurses Week story.
Favorite thing about JagNation?

Some of the things I love about AU Medical Center are how much we care about our community; PFCC (Patient- and Family-Centered Care); and when challenges arise, we always come together as a team and tackle whatever comes our way. The teamwork at our institution is unmatched in the CSRA.

Family:

Husband Richard Mathis and daughter Hart Mathis.

Hobbies:

Camping; 4-wheeling; relaxing by the pool; spending time with my family.

Mother, father and daughter
Nursing is more personal to Kathryn Mathis, because her daughter Hart is a cancer survivor.
Something the JagNation does not know about you:

I love going to the mountains 4-wheeling, and I am not afraid to get muddy!

How has COVID-19 changed/affected your job?

It has completely changed our unit because we have been closed since March 21. That was the first day that we closed the unit and moved all non-COVID patients to other rooms and floors. This change has been a lot different than our normal 28-30 patients every day. Our nurse-to-patient ratios are normally 1:5 or 1:6. Since we have been accepting only COVID-19 patients, we had to adjust our nurse-to-patient ratios to 1:3 and our PCT (patient care technician) ratios to 1:6.

We implemented COVID-19 education at morning huddles to educate staff on current CDC guidelines on proper PPE (personal protective equipment). This was a hurdle because things were changing daily so it was very fluid and difficult to keep up with. We implemented an every two hour (and 24/7) sanitizing schedule to keep the entire unit as clean as possible. We also had to reduce the amount of times we entered patient rooms to help prevent staff exposure while also preserving PPE. This was very different for our staff who are trained to complete bedside reports and hourly rounding. There have been many changes, and we have had to adjust frequently during these uncertain times.

The biggest change for me personally has been the enormous responsibility to ensure the staff are receiving the most current information from the CDC and our education department in regards to the PPE. The safety of our staff has been my first priority, along with patient care. I have also done my best to listen to team members, so they know that their concerns and the fears they are experiencing are valid and important to me as well. They need to know that we are all in this together.

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
12
Denise Parrish
Written by
Denise Parrish

Denise Parrish is Senior Communications Strategist for Operations at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-9566 or mparrish@augusta.edu.

View all articles
Invalid OAuth access token.
Denise Parrish Written by Denise Parrish

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

Read on for stories of innovation in education and health care, opportunities at the center of Georgia’s new cybersecurity hub, and experiential learning that blends arts and application, humanities and the health sciences.