A team of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses are assisting Lyon College with its COVID-19 response this school year.
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Patrick Mulick announced on Aug. 17 that nurses Lauren Pickle, RN, Melonie Koch, RN, and Cassie Mohlke, BSN, will be covering the Office of Health and Wellness.
Mulick said the nurses will be available for student needs, will help with the College’s COVID testing procedures, will care for any quarantined students and will work with Lyon’s COVID Coordinator Shawn Tackett. Additionally, they will work closely with the medical staff at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) North Central Clinic in Batesville for students who need to be seen by a physician.
Pickle said the team of nurses will rotate their call days for Lyon and its students.
“We all work in the ICU full-time still, so we based our on-call days off of our schedules,” she said.
The nurses can be contacted at email@example.com or (870)307-7425. They are available by phone 24/7 at (870) 205-0259 for any medical needs.
Pickle graduated from the University of Arkansas Community College in Batesville in December 2018 and previously worked as a bariatric medical-surgical nurse at Northeast Arkansas Baptist Memorial Hospital. She transferred to the White River Medical Center (WRMC) in December 2019 after taking maternity leave so she could be closer to home and work in the ICU.
She spent a lot of time in and out of school undecided on any career until she worked as a certified nursing assistant at WRMC for about four years.
“I would have never considered nursing until doing that,” Pickle said. “It’s one of the most rewarding jobs, and it’s never boring.”
She has been part of the ICU COVID team at WRMC since the pandemic began.
“As far as training with this pandemic, it’s a day-to-day basis,” Pickle said. “We are informed on the most up-to-date policies at work almost daily.”
She continued, “I also spend a lot of time following information and reading articles and studies in my own time. That’s just part of being a nurse or a healthcare professional in general. There is constant education and information made available daily.”
Koch received her licensed practical nurse (LPN) degree in 1994 at Ozarka College in Melbourne, Ark. She worked at the Cave City Nursing Home for three years before going to work at WRMC. She has since worked on the medical-surgical floor at the hospital, at Cave City Medical Clinic and at the Arkansas Health Education Center in Mountain View.
She returned to Ozarka in 2013 to receive her registered nurse (RN) degree and began working in the ICU at WRMC.
“I always liked helping people, and nursing seemed to be a career that would always allow me to do that,” Koch said. “I love the challenges and opportunities that nursing has.”
Mohlke graduated from Arkansas State University with a bachelor’s of nursing in 2019 and began working in the ICU at WRMC. She is also trained in hemodialysis and telemetry.
“I have been taking care of COVID-positive patients since it occurred in our area due to my ability to take care of ventilator-dependent patients,” she said, “and my knowledge of using different medications to treat them.”
Mohlke continued, “It has not been an easy five to six months, but I believe this is what God has called me to do.”
Koch said the team is looking forward to serving at Lyon College.
“I grew up in Newark, and I recently bought a home near Batesville with my husband, who I married in May,” Mohlke said.
She continued, “I’m excited to plant roots where I was raised and to take care of my community.”
Pickle said the most important thing to remember is that everyone is affected by the pandemic.
“It’s a real thing and it can be scary, but as ICU nurses we are seeing the worst of it and we want to do our part to keep everyone safe before they have to see us in the hospital.”
She continued, “We want to do our best to give students and parents peace of mind, knowing if anything happens with them medically that they are in capable hands.”