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Health Care Hero Profile: Joanne Sun, MD

Health Care Heroes

In May, the Saint Francis Foundation began featuring the amazing Saint Francis Memorial Hospital staff at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff Profile:
Joanne Sun, MD

Director, Emergency Department,
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital & Board Member, Saint Francis Foundation

Q. What is most challenging about your work during this current crisis?
A. The need to constantly re-adjust to new information and those downstream effects on the team. The providers have had to make changes to their daily practice to reflect current recommendations. From one day to the next, COVID treatment plans, PPE (personal protective equipment) and practice policies have all been in flux. Add to that the usual stressors from livinggrocery shopping, caring for familyand it can all be quite difficult to manage.

Q. Why do you do what you do?
A. It’s very gratifying to provide some relief to people everyday in their direst time of need. Although we in the ED (Emergency Department) can’t cure all ailments, I feel satisfied that our patients have been helped in some manner- from treating medical complaints like chest pain to psychosocial issues stemming from homelessness and use disorder. Sometimes just the feeling of safety and being away from the streets provides reprieve to our vulnerable patients.

Q. What are you learning from this unprecedented situation?
A. How to take advantage of technology to improve the patient care as well as safety. We have been working on the use of telemedicine to reduce the need for provider and staff exposure to infected patients.

Q. What do you feel most hopeful about right now?
A. I am hopeful that this pandemic will shine a light on how vital public health policies and guidance are to the individual’s health.