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Congrats, Charlee Gribbon!


Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Infection Preventionist Charlee Gribbon, RN, has been recognized for finding innovative ways to keep Bartlett Regional Hospital staff and patients safe. She received a Frontline Staff Award from the Alaska State Hospital Nursing Home Association as part of the organization's annual Quality and Patient Safety Awards. Charlee was chosen for innovative initiatives during this pandemic, including developing a program to ensure frontline medical staff put on and take off PPE safely, creating weekly staff presentations of the latest COVID-19 information, and giving public presentations like Science on Screen and pandemic updates on local radio programs.

Director of Quality Gail Moorehead, Charlee's supervisor, says she nominated Charlee for the award without telling her. “I didn't want to add any anxiety and stress,” Gail says. “So when she got the word that she was awarded, she was really humbled by it. She was excited but also realized that she's one of many amazing nurses here.”

Charlee finds it hard to talk about the recognition without tearing up.

“I'm going to start crying, because it's not about me—it's about my team that has helped me get to this place, so I'm so honored. It's pretty cool,” she says.

Keeping Alaskans safe

Charlee says that at the onset of the pandemic, her immediate concern was protecting her colleagues.

“I'm working so hard to protect them, because they are my family,” she says. “I didn't want anybody to get sick. A pandemic such as this, with an easily contagious respiratory virus, it's so easily spreadable that we don't know who we could give it to.”

The weight of her job has not escaped her, and while communities tire of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus, Charlee and health care workers across the country realize their fight is far from over.

Step up for safety

As she continues her work to keep people safe, Charlee says Alaskans can do their part by following best practices and safety protocols, washing their hands, staying home when they feel sick, and being considerate of one another.

“I've been a nurse for 15 years, but I've been an infection preventionist for the last three,” Charlee says. “It really goes back to the basics: Caring about somebody as an individual and as if they were your family member, and [emphasizing] that hand hygiene and focusing on the basics is so important to prevention. And if you can prevent an infection, if you can prevent an illness, you really do save a life. I've been really humbled by seeing that in action.”

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