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Unsung heroes working in healthcare, those working behind the scenes

UNSUNG HEROS AT UW

MADISON (WKOW) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for everyone, but especially for our frontline healthcare workers.

In order for them to do their jobs, it takes a big team -- many of them working behind the scenes.

At UW-Health, there are plenty of unsung heroes who are doing their part to make sure hospitals run smoothly. We decided to highlight a few of their stories. 

Each day by the crack of dawn, Sandy Kreger voluntarily comes into work before her shift at University Hospital just to make sure frontline workers have everything they need.

She's responsible for ordering PPE equipment and making sure there's enough of it.

“I’ve never panicked over being low because there are others who have my back that can help me,” said Kreger. "Just knowing the supplies are here for the staff caring for the COVID patients is so important.” 

The PPE is stored at central storage before it goes up to the COVID unit but it takes a team for all the supplies to get there, in a sense like Santa’s workshop.

Wendy Kallenberger and Michael Vandenbrook are part of that team serving as supply clerks who also have critical jobs during this pandemic. Each day they deliver medical supplies to the COVID-19 unit, a job that largely goes unnoticed.

“Our job is to support (frontline workers), their attention should be on the patient and we bring them what they need,” said Vanderbrook.

“You really need to think about the kind of job you are doing because it really affects your patient's care and you want to make sure they have everything they need so they can go home,” said Kallenberger.

There are also employees at UW-Hospital now in different roles because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Michael Imhoff works in valet but, since he can't go inside patients' cars anymore, they got creative and now transport patients to and from their cars in a golf cart.

"This is as frontline as it gets," Imhoff said.

He also helps alleviate some of the uncertainty during the pandemic.

"We're dealing with people who are sick or people realize they can't go in with the patients so it's a lot of talking people down, they'll be okay, will get them to their appointment,” he said.

Gabriela Carrillo is another extraordinary employee during these uncertain times. She’s also a former valet driver and now works for guest services. Her duties include greeting patients and navigates them where to go for their appointments, often the first person they see.

"It's being personnel with the patients and being here for them, that’s the most rewarding part," Carrillo said. "Some of them don't have anyone to talk to during the pandemic, so I'm that person they can talk too."

From all walks of life, these unsung heroes are grateful to have a job that keeps this hospital running and each day making a difference. 

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