Laurie’s words are inspiring; however, the experienced Interim Nurse Leader admits she was not without fear as she prepared to enter the earliest epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Despite the uncertainties, she felt a duty to leverage her experience and expertise to make a difference. With skillful communication and a hands-on leadership style, Laurie’s story demonstrates what Interim Leaders can accomplish, even in the most extreme circumstances.

Home to the first reported case of COVID-19 in the U.S., a hospital in a large city in the Pacific Northwest felt the impact of the novel coronavirus well before
the rest of the country. By mid-March, the number of COVID-positive patients was steadily increasing. Many were in the ICU, however there was also a need for a Med-Surg unit equipped to handle non-critical patients with the virus. With protocols changing hourly, the hospital needed an experienced leader to establish evidence-based practices for the unit and ensure the staff was following the newest guidelines.