Jordan Lothert ’20, St. Cloud, Minn.
Major: Business with a double concentration in Healthcare Leadership and Long-Term Care Administration

At what point did CentraCare go into full pandemic preparation and response? 

CentraCare started planning for COVID-19 in early January when the disease was still premature and much was yet unknown. CentraCare was very proactive in its preparation and formed an incident command team to prepare for whatever this disease might bring. We went into full pandemic mode in early March, shortly after I started my internship. Although the Incident Command Team had been preparing for weeks, new sets of challenges present themselves daily with the ever-evolving disease. As the outbreak progressed, the Incident Command Team managed to stay one step ahead of it with planning. Other teams within the hospital have also been formed and most meet multiple times a day. Each team is diverse in its makeup – with a variety of healthcare stakeholders representing their department. Each of these teams plans for different situations that may occur. Currently, we are flattening the curve and are planning for its peak. CentraCare’s Incident Command Team is preparing for a worst-case scenario with the hope it will not reach that level of severity.

What specific COVID-related tasks have you personally been doing?

My preceptor, Kurt Otto (VP of the Specialty Care Division), leads the inpatient planning team for COVID-19 patients. The planning team decides where the first positive COVID-19 inpatients will be housed in the hospital. I had the opportunity to observe and assist the planning team as it created the response plan. This plan was continually modified, as COVID-19 numbers were expected to increase in the community. The team’s main task was to determine how to isolate infected patients from the rest of the population as numbers grew. I played an integral part in helping create the response plan as it pertained to COVID-19 hospitalizations.

What have you learned from being an intern during this unprecedented situation?

I learned how important teamwork is. There is no way one person could handle this situation alone. Teamwork is an integral part of the CentraCare Health System so tasks can be accomplished in a timely fashion. Many teams were formed during my internship and all have worked seamlessly to accomplish common goals. I also learned how important it is to have strong leadership within an organization. CentraCare has amazing leaders! Many leaders have worked around the clock during this stressful time to prepare for this pandemic. Next, with the situation changing daily, communication to all employees is vitally important. CentraCare leaders have done an excellent job informing all employees with daily messages so everyone within the organization knows what is going on. Finally, I learned the importance of the planning process and taking steps to properly execute a plan. Planning is key when it comes to unprecedented situations like we are experiencing. I have seen firsthand how CentraCare's planning has helped all employees know their role throughout this situation.

Have you been able to connect your coursework to the various experiences you've had in your internship?

Because of the many healthcare courses I have taken throughout my college career, I had the opportunity to learn about emergency preparedness. My healthcare courses did an outstanding job outlining the process of emergency planning. In fact, my healthcare professors went a step further and recommended that we review our facility’s emergency preparedness plan during our internship as a learning opportunity. By default, I have had more experience than most to see the plan in action and I am thankful for the learning opportunity. Many of my professors in the business school also focused on leadership skills and how to become well-rounded leaders in the workplace. I have seen varying leadership styles during my internship and have been able to apply my observations to develop my own leadership style. I was able to solve problems throughout my internship and therefore had the opportunity to strengthen my leadership skills.

What are your plans following graduation?

I plan to get my long-term care licensure and apply for jobs within central Minnesota. My goal is to be an administrator of a hospital or skilled nursing facility.