Pam Kinsey, Willow Valley Communities’ Infection Prevention Manager, is one of the faces of the COVID-19 Update, along with Chief Marketing Officer Brian Rutter. Pam brings a clinical view of COVID-19 to our community during the show and educates us all on the latest news and data about the virus at Willow Valley Communities, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and the United States.
Pam was born and raised in Lancaster County and has been a registered nurse for 26 years. She says she was first exposed to the science of medicine while she was working at a veterinary hospital. She went to nursing school fully intending to go to veterinary school, but Pam fell in love with nursing. “It truly brings together science and compassion. It is an honor to have the opportunity to support families at their most difficult times.”
Pam has spent her career working primarily in long-term care in a variety of leadership roles. She has been with Willow Valley Communities for over two years. “This has been an excellent career for me,” she said. “I enjoy the challenges it has provided, though I could never have anticipated the COVID-19 experience!”
When Pam is not on the TV broadcast, she has very full, busy days at Willow Valley Communities. She is also the mother of two teenage daughters who both work in Willow Valley Communities’ Culinary Services Department. One daughter graduated from high school in 2020, and the other will graduate in 2021. Pam herself is in graduate school, with plans to graduate in 2021. The three are hoping to celebrate all their graduations next year with a trip together.
Pam is reflective when she thinks about the impact of COVID-19 on her daughters. “For both of my children, their senior year in high school will forever be marked by it. The social isolation is the worst for teenagers, as it is for all of us. Perhaps they will have a deeper appreciation for activities that we once took for granted — like hugging a loved one. Perhaps they will become leaders that help us to be better prepared for potential dangers.”
With COVID-19 placing Pam front and center in our daily lives, we wanted to get to know her a little better. She took a few minutes out of her busy day to talk more about COVID-19 and the response of Willow Valley Communities Residents and Team Members.
What is your role at Willow Valley Communities?
As the Infection Prevention Manager, I develop, coordinate, oversee, and monitor the infection control program for Willow Valley Communities’ skilled care areas. This includes educating other departments and coordinating their unique roles in infection prevention.
Though my primary focus this year has become response and risk mitigation of COVID-19, the most important work has been done by our Residents and Team Members. They have been vigilant. Together we have followed the prevention measures, we have made good risk-mitigation choices, and we have remained focused on the goal of protecting each other. This virus is our invisible enemy, which makes asymptomatic spread nearly impossible to eliminate. Our team remains committed. Both Residents and Team Members deserve recognition for their part in our battle against this virus. Willow Valley Communities has a great team — at every level.
So you are quite pleased with how Willow Valley Communities’ Residents and Team Members have complied with your recommendations?
Willow Valley Communities’ Residents and Team Members have stepped up and have taken on the challenge of this pandemic with grace and commitment. Residents and Team Members are wise and understand that prevention of this illness is within their control. They understand the importance of their actions and how they might impact our entire community. We fight together, and we will get through this together.
What were the ﬁrst things you did as the virus was ramping up?
I researched exactly what was happening around the world. I investigated Willow Valley Communities’ personal protective equipment and recommended ordering more in anticipation of our need.
Did you think it would get to the point that it did?
Initially, we all wanted to believe this would not evolve into the challenge that it did, and we remained hopeful. We could not have imagined how our lives would change.
What else would you like the readers to know?
I truly appreciate the Resident support during this challenge. We need to respect the COVID-19 virus, but we should replace our fear with a focus on good prevention measures. I have tried to provide everyone with the education required to protect them and to make choices based on evidence-based practice. The COVID-19 TV broadcast has provided a platform for us to learn together and to unite in our fight against the virus. Many residents have expressed gratitude for it. Brian does a fabulous job of anchoring the show, leading guests to share useful information and bringing topics of importance to the Residents.
The broadcast team is fabulous. Neil, Cullen, Ryan, Theresa, Krista, Stacy — who are mostly behind the scenes — they are the foundation that brings the show to our Residents. My part has been the education, and I love the opportunity, but wish we didn’t have to go through the experience. I enjoy public speaking, but never expected this!
Willow Valley Communities’ leadership and our Team Members are a fantastic group, and I am thankful to be part of the team. I am also thankful for our Willow Valley Communities Residents and their wisdom to remain committed to protecting each other. I look forward to the day when we can find our “new normal,” return to socializing freely, and return to living our lives forward without the constant reminder of COVID-19.
One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou describes this pandemic experience perfectly: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” That is exactly what we are doing with our prevention efforts.
Willow Valley Communities is honored to have Pam Kinsey, Willow Valley Communities’ Infection Prevention Manager, featured as a Woman of Strength by Susquehanna Style magazine. Pam works tirelessly at keeping everyone at Willow Valley Communities safe and healthy. Click here to learn even more about Pam and what motivates her in Susquehanna Style’s magazine article.