BY DEB AND TIM SMITH
Dianna Lyko of Mendon has been honored with the 2021 New York State EMS Council Annual Award for the Registered Professional Nurse Of Excellence. While all aspects of society have been compromised by the pandemic of the past year, obviously those in the health profession working at hospitals have found themselves thrust into a front line position to a greater degree than most. Dianna found herself in that position and rose to meet the challenge with an adept acuity and devotion that did not go unnoticed.
About Dianna, Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance’s Deputy Chief of Clinical Care Brian Bartolick and paramedic Rebecca Searchfield wrote the following. “Dianna is an incredibly dedicated RN. She works tirelessly in the Highland Hospital Emergency Department. She is a common face that EMS crews see representing the hospital, and even in the face of increased activity and long wait times, Dianna ensures that EMS does not become neglected. She is dedicated to the department, often times serving in multiple roles such as charge and triage while still needed to manage patient care. Her care and compassion for her craft are evident and she instantly establishes a great rapport with patients.”
Here’s the background of the honor Dianna won which was awarded through the Monroe Livingston Regional EMS Council. Most of the council’s awards fall within the realm of actual EMS staff, but there is one award for the Registered Professional Nurse of Excellence which, as the name conveys, goes to an RN and that’s the one which was awarded to Dianna.
The official criteria states that the award is for: Contributions to the EMS community as a NYS professional Registered Nurse (RN) who demonstrates outstanding dedication, responsibility, professional behavior, ingenuity, special skills or insight in the pre-hospital environment. Eligibility: New York State licensed Registered Nurse serving the EMS System.
Dianna worked as the “charge nurse” at Highland Hospital’s Emergency Department which essentially established her as the liaison as emergency patients were transitioning from the care of the “pre-hospital” medical team to the emergency team at Highland. That pre-hospital team would be the paramedics and EMT’s who, when delivering their patients to Highland, would often have Dianna be the first face they’d see upon arrival at the hospital.
In this capacity, Dianna came to know many members of the pre-hospital team and a strong mutual respect developed for the difficult work performed on the pre-arrival and post-arrival levels of this operation. “I always strived to make the triage and rooming process as smooth as possible,” Dianna said, “in order to be able to get the crews back in-service and onto the road.”
We asked Dianna about how COVID had affected her work and, not surprisingly, she had some telling answers. At this point, we’re actually going to turn things over to Dianna for a few paragraphs and allow her to tell this tale that is covered with a coating of COVID in her very own words.
When COVID first showed up in Rochester (fun fact: the first positive was a patient who came to Highland’s ED), the amount of uncertainty was unnerving. Each day brought new guidelines, policies and recommendations. Things seemed to be ever-changing and evolving, seemingly completely out of our control at times. However, this really only helped to strengthen the bond between pre-hospital and hospital providers. We had to lean on each other since we were the only people we got to see day in and day out (even if it was under layers of PPE).
It brought so many challenges to both EMS and the hospitals, but luckily we all had each other to get through it. It challenged us and the medical system in ways that seem absolutely unreal when you reflect on the past 400 some-odd days of COVID-19, but we are still here, still standing, still doing what we do. I certainly never imagined when I graduated nursing school 7 years ago that I would ever work during a global pandemic, but at this point, I couldn’t have imagined taking on this beginning of this pandemic with anyone other than the team that I did in Highland’s ED and all the EMS providers in our community.
We’d like to extend a special Sentinel salute and shout-out to our friend and neighbor Dianna Lyko.