Interview with Angela Hawley, 01/21/2022

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐GL: This is Grace Lim interviewing Angela Hawley on Friday, January 21, 2022, for campus COVID stories. Campus COVID stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh about their experiences in the time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Before we get started, could you please state your name and spell it for us?

AH: Angela Hawley, A-N-G-E-L-A H-A-W-L-E-Y.

GL: Now for the purposes of getting a good audio recording, tell us again who you are and what your title is here at UW Oshkosh.

AH: Angela Hawley, I am a nurse practitioner in the Student Health Center and currently the interim director as well.

GL: Before we dive into your campus COVID story, we just like to get to know you a little bit better. Just tell us a little bit about where you came from.

AH: Sure. So I originally grew up in Ripon which is very close to Oshkosh. Went to undergrad school in Milwaukee at Marquette for nursing and then worked as a 00:01:00nurse for a few years and then came back to grad school here at UW Oshkosh getting my Master's of Science and Nursing degree. And I worked in women's health initially as a nurse practitioner, but after a few years, I came to the Student Health Center and have been here for about six years now as a nurse practitioner.

GL: When did you earn your nursing degree, the master's here?

AH: In 2012.

GL: And what year did you start working here full time?

AH: 2015.

GL: And what was that role again?

AH: A nurse practitioner.

GL: Okay. And then when did you become the interim director?

AH: Just, this is my second go of interim director. I initially did it in December of 2018, for about nine months. And then now just the last, I think it was about two weeks, this time around so far.

GL: And tell us a little bit about your role pre COVID, your work role.

00:02:00

AH: Sure. So as a nurse practitioner, we see care, you know, give care to students all enrolled students, undergrad and graduate for a variety of medical reasons. So, you know, regular physical exams, acute illness and injuries, birth control, immunizations, a variety of things. So I work throughout the year. So I'm here during summer and breaks and during the academic year to provide all types of medical care.

GL: Do you have numbers on top of your head? Like how many students does this health center see?

AH: Oh, I, very rough numbers, I would say probably about like 3500 individual students a year, an academic year.

GL: Okay. All right. All right, let's so let's move to the early day of COVID. Do you remember the first time you heard about this this virus?

AH: Yeah. So in January, my director at the time came to me and said she had an 00:03:00impromptu meeting with a division of student affairs about this thing called Coronavirus. I knew about Coronavirus, you know, as a virus that is out there but never much more about it. Because it's never really been a concern from the medical standpoint. So that's kind of what prompted the looking into what's going on and then seeing what is going on from there and never knowing it would lead to all of this.

GL: At what point did you realize that this is something that you should be paying attention to?

AH: I think shortly into it. I mean, you know, as a medical person, we start diving deep, and what is this? And so I think shortly after we had that meeting and started really looking into it, we're like, oh, wow, this is a big, you know, world public health issue. And that's not going to be small or gone very soon.

GL: And what what conversations were happening in in your department and describe your department to me, like how many people? Who's involved?

00:04:00

AH: Yep. So we have about on average, between 10 to 12 employees in our department. They range in we have nurse practitioners, registered nurses, medical assistant, a lab technician, and then a few other supporting office staff members. I think it started, the conversations probably started between myself and the providers. We talked the most about kind of, you know, illnesses and injuries and what's going on and how do we treat them? So I think we were kind of bouncing off like hey, have you heard this? Do you know what's going on? And so I think they we started all started kind of looking at researching and figuring out that this is something that's gonna hit us and hit us hard and we're gonna have a lot to do with it.

GL: And then since March of 2020 through December 2021, do you know anyone who's close to you who contracted the virus?

AH: So initially I did not until I got it myself in September of 2020 when a lot 00:05:00of people got it when there was a big spike, and I honestly have no idea how where I even got it. So that was my first run in with somebody close to me was myself. After that it no one else in my family got it, which is which is great. It didn't hit again, probably until just until this last December. So last month, and then it came in our household again. And it's been affecting us in one way or another probably for the last month.

GL: When you first got it, what were your symptoms like?

AH: Yeah, so I my biggest symptom was nasal congestion, is what I had and you know, just like everyone else, you're like, oh, is it allergies? Is it is it another cold? Is it Coronavirus? What is it? And then probably a day or two in I lost my taste and smell. And that was like oh, it's Coronavirus. Got tested and I was positive. So and it stayed pretty mild. I mean, I think the main thing was the the nasal congestion. And then I honestly I still have some issues with 00:06:00smell. My taste is pretty much come back. But there's certain smells that I still over a year and a half later that are affected.

GL: What kind of notice did your department get regarding the you know, this idea, the the act of sending our students home or closing down the campus?

AH: Um, to remember back? You know, I think honestly, I don't remember exactly how that all went down. I think it was with our director, you know, kind of letting us know, what was going on specifically, and then kind of campus wide. I don't remember any specific knowledge ahead of time, if that makes sense. We're kind of going with it like everybody else was at the moment.

GL: And did you I mean, did your department shut down also?

AH: We never shut down, you know, we're considered considered essential workers. 00:07:00So we have always been been in the office we and provide care we have we changed our care. So initially, when this happened, and the safer at home order and the campus shut down, we kind of went into a locked door policy. So we locked our front door, which we never do, just so that we could be prepared if somebody needed to come in and have the appropriate PPE on and you know, decrease risk to staff. So we did that for that that semester while it was shut down. And then we implemented telehealth visits. That was something that we've always looked into implementing but never actually, you know, did it and this kind of pushed us to, to do telehealth. So we still provide tried to provide as much care as we could to students, especially in this in such a change of time through telehealth visits, and then we would bring them in if really needed.

GL: So when did you start doing the telehealth?

AH: Pretty much right when the the shutdown happened.

GL: And how did that work?

00:08:00

AH: So we call people so it was mainly via telephone. And then as the our Microsoft Teams platform, the virtual platform kind of took off. Then we started doing visits that way, but most of it was was via telephone.

GL: But you said that I want to make sure I get this clear that when the university shut down and send everybody home, you said that the health the Student Health Department was still open, but we had the closed door.

AH: Yep. Yep. So we what we called our patients. So like want patients that were already scheduled. We call them you know, for the upcoming weeks and kind of figured out the best plan for how can we continue your care, or you know, you're going home where you're going to be and then anyone who called for an appointment, we would also tell them their process. Prior to this, we also had web scheduling so students could schedule online, we shut that we turn that off at the same time because we wanted to talk to people and tell them kind of our 00:09:00process and not expect to come into the office. And that has we still have not turned that back on with COVID because we want to talk to people before they come into the office to make sure they don't have any symptoms or before we bring them in.

GL: Were you working on campus?

AH: Yep, yep. So we we never went home. We've always been on campus.

GL: So, you know, that brings up one of the questions about being an essential worker you know, how your, your, from your perspective, I understand health care workers are always at the front lines of any any major emergeny. But in the back of your mind. I mean, what were you thinking? Were you thinking man, I wish she could go home? I you know, I we don't know what this is, you know, this is all about what were your thoughts?

AH: Yeah. I mean, I think fear I mean, I I had fear too, as a health care provider, you know, how would it affect me personally? But how would we still, 00:10:00from a professional standpoint, provide the care that we need to people at home as well, you know, in person visits, you can do a lot of things over the telephone or via virtual, but there's a lot of stuff you can't do you know that you need to see a person in person. So making sure that, you know, finding that balance, but personally, my husband, you know, his job he was able to stay home with our kids would think goodness, because daycare closed and stuff like that. But yeah, there was a little bit of a fear of, I almost wish I could stay home, like, I still have to go in, I still have to see people, and maybe they have it, and they don't know it, you know, and at that point, we were still finding out what's the appropriate PPE? How do you, you know, protect yourself from this virus? And so it was it was very nerve wracking, because I didn't want to get it and then bring it home to my family.

GL: Were you. I just wanna make sure that you were still seeing some, some students in person? Is that correct.

AH: We were trying not to as much as we could, you know, if there was a reason, and most times we were able to do things over the phone. Treat, you know, 00:11:00presumptively, with medication if we felt like this was going on. So most times, we were able to keep them out of the office.

GL: Okay. And did your job change? You know, how did it, how did your job change during this whole time?

AH: So, I mean, it changed in that the Coronavirus now is something that you always have to keep in the back of your mind that you didn't think of before. You know, it's changed your triage and how do you assess people, especially with these symptoms? But I wouldn't say that it's changed medical care in general, you know, I'm still providing the same care for other things to people. But it's, you know, it's changed the process of illnesses and colds and coughs and you know, what do we look at for that? And how do we manage those people?

GL: Are you Who do you serve supervise? During that time? You know, at the 00:12:00beginning of COVID, were you supervising people at the time?

AH: So I was not we had a director, otherwise, the previous director was in that position, and she is technically the supervisor of all of our staff.

GL: And tell me exactly what your role was at that time. From the march until the change.

AH: Yeah, so initially, it was to be a provider in the office at that time, I was the assistant director. So you know, it was kind of a go to person and to help the director figure out processes. But we also did that as a, as a team, you know, everyone had some input and knowledge into what was going on. And then in fall, I joined the Emergency Operations Committee. So that's where I had more input into the campus wide processes versus just our office processes and kind of a medical expertise, you know, to for that as well.

GL: So tell me about your role in the EOC.

00:13:00

AH: Yeah, so primarily, again, they're from a medical standpoint, to provide medical expertise or knowledge on the illness, but also to work with other departments on campus on how when it came to testing, how is that going to look? And is this something that we could do in the health center? Or do we need to find another entity? You know, to help us with that. And same thing with the vaccines came. So kind of how can we help our students the best, whether that's coming into our office or finding another way for them to get the correct care that they need.

GL: So we're talking fall 2020? Correct? Yep. Yep. That you were part of the EOC. kay. So, um, how did you know what what happened in the fall of 2020 regarding, you know, your work and and COVID? The COVID response.

AH: So I think that that big one was, they already started the process, I think, in the summer of testing, and how was that going to look? But I think that was 00:14:00us, we kind of came in and helped with that, you know, how does the testing structure look in? And we helped with the the isolation side, so people that were sick, we reached out to all the students that were isolated in our dorms on campus and provided medical consultation, you know, from a medical side of how are you feeling this is what you can do this is when you should seek emergency care, but also from the academic side, you know, this is how you let your professors know and you know, to try to help round that out. So they feel comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation.

GL: Were you getting a lot of calls from students during that time?

AH: We were. We were getting a lot of phone calls of symptoms, and we did a lot of directing of testing and when you should get tested and then what do you need to do from there? We did a lot of education on isolation and what that meant and how do you spread it and what can you do to help your symptoms in the moment and exposure. There's a lot of people that started to have questions about I was exposed to what a I do so a lot of education on the quarantine and isolation side.

00:15:00

GL: How were the students? I mean, were they panicked? Were they worried? Were they reluctant? I don't know, I mean.

AH: Yeah no, I think I mean, the good thing is, is I think when a lot of people call us, they, they're actively wanting information. So they are very open and want to hear about what to do, and how do we stop this virus as well? Or how to, you know, how do I help myself? But I would say, Yeah, I mean, there's still a lot of fear, you know, especially in fall there the numbers right after returning to campus, you know, went pretty good numbers, I should say. So I think there was a lot of people that were wanting to reach out, and how do I, how do I help myself, you know, from getting this virus?

GL: What were the biggest challenges in regards to your work during this time?

AH: I either one of the biggest challenges was the ever changing, evolving virus, you know, You know, there was a lot of things that continue to change, and rightfully so it's new, you know, we're learning a lot about it and and how 00:16:00do we how does it transmit? And how do we stop it? And how do we treat it? And what are the symptoms and testing? I mean, there's, there's a lot of things around it. So I think we continually were changing our process and education making sure we are up to date on what we were educating people, and, and sometimes fighting the, the information people were getting from the community, because it wasn't, it didn't always align with what medical, you know, the medical side, and what we're finding, you know, from the CDC and research studies. So really trying to educate people on what, what is going on and how to help yourself again.

GL: I mean, do you have students coming to you with well, specifics about? I don't think, you know, I don't know what things that they hear in the in the community, what are they saying?

AH: Yeah, yeah. I mean, one of the big, you know, the vaccines was a big one, you know, in vaccines came around, you know, there was a lot of myths out there about what the, the vaccine could cause, you know, many people were worried about infertility, or just the long the longevity, could there be any risk of 00:17:00the vaccine? So I think doing a lot of education and having a lot of knowledge of what it what it is, and what could happen is, is, I think, what we heard a lot,

GL: What'd you, what did you tell the students, when they came in and says, I don't want to take this vaccine because I want to have kids later?

AH: Yeah, we would, you know, we would explain the vaccine, how it worked. And then we would explain that of research how long they've been actually working on this. And those are, those are, those are not any founded risks. But you know, we also tell the person they have to figure out what is right for them, you know, in the moment as well. It's, and just give them as much fast fact based knowledge at the moment that we could that we knew about the vaccines.

GL: Did you ever get any students come back and say, I mean, any feedback from 00:18:00that? Or did did you ever get anybody coming back to you's I'm glad I got the vaccine or?

AH: Yeah, yeah. I mean, we have we there's a few people that would that would come back and get it. And we're happy when you see it. I think you see it more now with the cases again, being hire, you know, how it's affected their family, or if they got it or didn't get it. And we heard those cases, sometimes, I mean, not routinely, because sometimes when we didn't see them again, or you know, or talk to them again, necessarily, but we did have some times that we heard that they were happy, you know, that they got it and there was many who were seeking it out initially. You know, we we had vaccine clinics in the spring of was at 2021. Right? And so and as soon as the educators were eligible, we held vaccine clinics on our campus, the first ones in our office, so we vaccinated, I think it was 430 individuals and fully vaccinated at that point to what that meant. 00:19:00And then we held a pop up clinic in Reeve as well. vaccinating I think, 41 additional people.

GL: So I wasn't aware about that that first one.

AH: Mm hmm.

GL: That was only for faculty or?

AH: It was faculty and staff. So anybody who is eligible at that point, that faculty, staff and students, excuse me, yes. So anyone that was eligible by those eligibility criterias they had we had vaccine for them. Yes.

GL: This is before the Culver Center.

AH: Yeah. I'm trying to remember I don't remember the timing. The Culver Center might have been open before that I feel like but staff, but educators were not, The Culver Center was open before that, but educators are not eligible yet. So it was when the educators became an eligible category is when we held it on at at at the at the Health Center.

00:20:00

GL: At the health center.

AH: Yep.

GL: Did, what reactions were getting from people that you're giving the vaccine to?

AH: Ecstatic. Yeah, I think they were waiting, you know, for that eligibility to come through. And when it did, that we had an on campus, you know, a nice easy place people knew where we were, it was a great feedback from from all individuals that came.

GL: So did you did your department actually have come up with a COVID response policy or protocol or anything for for your department?

AH: Yes, we had a specific triage protocol that we set up for. So for our two nurses that answered the telephone, we had a specific triage on what to ask them, and then where to direct them and how to talk about testing and things like that. I would say that's, that was the most one, when it comes to treatment or for testing. It was ever changing. So we never necessarily had a protocol or policy 00:21:00written out. But we as providers talk to each other constantly, you know, about the updated guidelines and what are we doing, and I have this patient's scenario, and a lot of times the scenarios were not easy, you know, easy, there was always exposure or symptoms, or, you know, there's a lot of variability to it. So we would bounce it off each other and, and make sure we were following the correct guidelines at that time to give them the best information.

GL: And then obviously, I mean, were you among the you were able to get your vaccine early, right?

AH: Yes. And health care. Yep. Yep. January, I think was one kind of that. Yep. Mm hmm.

GL: How? You know what were, what, what were your thoughts? And the reaction to that?

AH: Yeah. I mean, I thought vaccines are great. I mean, that was the next step. You know, I mean, we, you know, we've been doing a lot of other mitigation processes or measures and vaccines was kind of the next step to hopefully 00:22:00decrease or, you know, eliminate, but decrease the, the virus. So I think it was great. I mean, it was, it was needed.

GL: As a, you know, a frontline really, you know, health care worker, you know, you're, you've been you were not able to, to shelter in place, or safer at home, you know, practice all that. Were you all discouraged during this time when? Yeah.

AH: Yeah. I mean, I think, in general, I think, you know, I aligned with a lot of the fears that I'm that most people had initially The probably the, the time that you start to see controversy was when the vaccines kind of came out, you know, most people initially were for testing and see what's going on. And as you learn more about it, and then obviously, vaccines in general, is a controversial topic, I think that started to probably create some little bit of discord, I 00:23:00guess and confusion. You know, between the medical field not everyone, but some people in the medical field and sometimes people in the community about the direction and how to how to continue managing this virus. And were you at all, some people have said that they were just they thought once a vaccine came, you know, readily available that this is, this is gonna end so we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Did you have that reaction? I did. Initially, I was hoping that that that would be kind of the next step, hopefully one of the final steps to make us go back to normal, whatever normal looks like. So I mean, there was frustration in that it was not everyone was not jumping on board to help in that situation. But we also I mean, I understand that it's now never it's never going away. You know, I mean, that's how a lot of pandemics happen. 00:24:00Right? And things happen. We have to find ways to, to how do we find ways to now manage that that virus or illness and it's gonna always gonna be something in the back of our minds now as a medical provider, you know, anytime somebody comes in with cold coughs, runny noses, you know, there's various things you think of, but Coronavirus is always now going to be one of them. But time will tell on how severe it is. And you know, how, you know, is it a common cold that you, you watch or is there more you know that we have to be very careful of?

GL: What will, what will what does normal look like to you moving forward?

AH: That's a good question. Normal to me, you know, kind of getting back to a pre pan pandemic if we if we can. Again with the knowledge that this virus it 00:25:00will always be out there probably in some way or another. A positive, I think of this pandemic is that I think it taught a lot of people about hygiene and illness prevention. You know, staying home when you're when you're not feeling well, I think as America, we, we put a lot of emphasis on work, you know, on productivity. And I think this kind of refocuses us back on health, a little bit, and how do we keep ourselves healthy, but also others, you know, in times when you're not feeling well. And so we've learned about masks, and we've learned about washing hands and staying home, you know, during illness time. So hopefully, that's something that will continue so we can for all for all illnesses and viruses, not just this one.

GL: Why did you choose the nursing profession?

AH: You know, it became, in high school, I always wanted to be a teacher, that 00:26:00was like, my, my thing. And then in high school, I had a human biology class, and I found it just very interesting to learn about bodies and kind of how they processed. And, and then I think you, you always have that side of wanting to help others. You know, help them in probably in their most vulnerable times, when people are in the hospital, they're not feeling well, their immune system is down, and what can we do to get you back to your functioning level, whatever that may look like after this, but how can we, you know, elevate that, or make it the most positive experience that we can?

GL: I'm sure, using the news, you've seen that your fellow your colleagues and, you know, fellow workers in the health care have suffered greatly, you know, during this pandemic. I mean, does it make you question your vocation, your path?

AH: It does, some it does sometimes. I mean, I think also, you know, again, the 00:27:00controversy that has come about with vaccines, and you know, and sometimes the certain individuals and you know, what's coming about. I mean, it, the risk to me with a virus, I mean, that I'm definitely concerned about, I'm bringing it home to my family, you know, and those type of things, but, again, you're there to help somebody, you know, in the, in their time of need, and so, you just, you do what you can, you know, and you try to minimize risk to yourself as much as you can. But I think that desire to help kind of outshines, you know, the risk.

GL: Okay, and then, and then, let's go back to the EOC a little bit. I mean, did you know you said, you provide the perspective from the medical, you know, that that lens, tell me specifically, what kind of things you did for the EOC, or you provided to the EOC.

AH: So when it came down to, you know, testing and changing, you know, processes 00:28:00that we were doing, so sometimes giving direction on what the CDC recommends, and kind of why it probably recommends those certain processes, and should we change them or not. You know, with vaccines, again, that was a big one, you know, we tried to help the, with vaccines with having clinics in our office, and how to, to market that to people, you know, to students and staff. So more from the medical standpoint, you know, when new guidelines come out, and people aren't always aware of them trying to share that knowledge with EOC members. And you know, so that we're staying up to date and following the most recent evidence base medicine.

GL: When you say you were holding vaccine clinics, what would that mean?

AH: Yep so, the ones that I was talking about. So we held those the vaccine clinics in the health center, in in April of 2021. So we ordered the vaccine, 00:29:00Pfizer, and we were allotted a certain amount. And then we held three specific clinics that vaccinated the 430 individuals in our in our office. And then after that, we transitioned it to Culver, because we felt it was a better use of time and space to maximize how many we could vaccinate. So we still got vaccine allotted to us as a as a health center. But we gave it to the staff at Culver through the processes that we needed to so that we could maximize how many we could get vaccinated.

GL: And are you still, I mean, you're still working with the EOC? What how has it changed now? What kind of things are you doing now?

AH: I would say it's pretty similar. I mean, I still think we kind of update the members about our processes in the health center. So that can be communicated to students at large that we're here to help them and what we do but also again to share new, relevant information evidence based about any changes that are that 00:30:00are happening with care and how that should or should not change our processes on campus.

GL: What would you say your, you know, most proud of, of your COVID response? I mean, from you and your department.

AH: I think our staff, our department did a great job mitigating, minimizing risk to ourselves, but others, but also continuing to provide care at the high standards that we have at all times. And then just adding COVID into it and being a resource about knowledge about what to do. And what do things look like? And how do we help you? And how do you get tested? So I think, changing you know, kind of always changing our processes to keep up to speed to the recommendations and but still providing all the other care that we've always provided.

GL: So what would you say that what has living and working and you know, in the 00:31:00time of COVID taught you about yourself?

AH: Back to your previous question, I think it's taught me that the medical field is still the right field for me. You know, I find this information is, is very interesting to me, you know, and how do we as America figure out a way to manage with this virus and still be a healthy community?

GL: Do you mind if we talk a little bit about your home life?

AH: Sure.

GL: Alright, so at that time, when you when the campus shut down, but you guys didn't, but who were you living with? I mean, your family, your you said you had a family?

AH: Yep.Yep. So I was my husband and then two kids at the moment. So I was, I had a, she was eight months old, nine-month-old. And then, and then a three and 00:32:00a half, almost four-year-old.

GL: Oh, my, you had littles?

AH: Yes, yes.

GL: So that is, I mean, that's already worrisome without a pandemic.

AH: Yes. Yep. And yeah, yeah, exactly. And not knowing what this virus meant. I mean, you know, little ones are the elderly, the young, you know, tend to be the most vulnerable. You know, so having a virus that you don't know how I was going to affect myself, but it wasn't myself, it was more again, do I'm gonna bring it home to my family, you know, and am I gonna in what, what could happen to them as their immune systems, you know, aren't as exposed and mature, you know, as, as others.

GL: Did you change the way I know that I had some friends and, you know, in the medical field that they in the beginning, because they didn't know whether it's, you know, airborne, you know, all the different things that they were doing. They were going, you know, overcautious regarding, you know, not taking their clothes inside even. Were you doing anything like that?

00:33:00

AH: Yeah, some things like that, being very cautious of, because we didn't know. Yeah, did it live on your, on your clothes on your surfaces? And how long does that last? Yeah, I would make sure that I would remove my clothes, and they would go directly into the laundry and not be sitting anywhere or doing anything. So it was a definitely a nerve wracking time when it came to that.

GL: Did you I mean, I kind of think that when you go home, your toddler wants to come and give you a big hug. And you had to like hold her off?

AH: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, they rush up to you and, and want to get you know, that's such a heartwarming, welcome. But then you also have to be like, hold on, because you don't you don't the last thing you want to do is right, expose them or cause any more risk. Mm hmm.

GL: And, you know, again, you know, you being in, in the healthcare, I mean, can you deal with people? How are you doing emotionally, mentally?

00:34:00

AH: I mean, that's a good question. Yeah, I mean, I think there's it ebbs and flows, you know, I mean, there's times where I'm very proud of where we are, and where we've come and what people are doing, you know, in in the community to help decrease this virus. But there's also times that I'm very frustrated. And you know, I have luckily where I work, we have a, we can minimize risk. You know, when we're in the office, we will call patients from our office into the exam room to minimize our face to face interaction. And then you know, we were obviously the appropriate PPE when we're in there to see them. So I we do as much as we can to minimize the risk to ourselves, but also provide the care that we need. There's a lot of people and my friends in the health care that don't always have that choice. You know, they're there in the rooms with really sick individuals, they wear the appropriate PPE. But again, you know, they're in 00:35:00there for prolonged time and doing procedures that increase their risk. And so it's, I my heart goes out to them. I mean, they're doing amazing work. And it's, it's burning a lot of people out. Which is sad, you know, because in deep down, we want to help people, and that's what we're there for it and we won't stop helping people, but at some point, it does start to wear on you mentally and physically, because you're also scared inside of what is going on, you know, to yourself.

GL: And how do you relieve some of that? What did you do to relieve some of that stress or anxiety?

AH: You know, I think at some point, you kind of have to not bring it home. You know, I lack of a better way to explain it sometimes now I don't want to talk about COVID anymore. You know, that's been my, it's been my thought constantly for the last two years, and I'm kind of done with it running my, my, my 00:36:00thoughts, I guess. You know, I like to educate and talk to people about COVID It's still I like to do it because I'm in health care. And it's interesting to me, but I also need to shut that off and just go home and be home you know, and be home with my family and enjoy the time and not necessarily worry about everything else at the moment.

GL: What do you do with your kids when you're home? That you really like.

AH: Yeah, so I think just being present with them and you know, putting my phone away and turning the news off. And just being there we you know, we play board games and my son right now who is five is obsessed with basketball and you know, so he loves watching basketball on TV and we have a little basketball hoop in the house that he plays with. So just being present with them and seeing you know, their joy and that is what that is what I like to do at the night time.

GL: Does he know what COVID is?

00:37:00

AH: He does. He is aware of Coronavirus you know he he's in kindergarten so it's been affecting him he's had to wear a mask every day at school and you know, he hears about people that are home sick. He doesn't obviously understand it to the gravity you know that it is but he understood he I think he said one time when is Coronavirus going to go away? You know, he is ready to be done with a mask and be not being able to be cautious. You know, we're cautious with what we do and how many people we see. And you know, so kind of getting back to that, you know, lack of cautious being cautious with everything.

GL: How did you respond to that question?

AH: Um, I think I told him, you know, I get it. And I understand I mean, I want masks to go away too. But at the moment it is it's what is helping us stay healthy. And so we will continue to do this until we need to stop. And I hope I tell him I hope Coronavirus goes away soon, although I know it's probably never 00:38:00fully going away but to his mind the level of going away. And so I just keep trying to explain to him that at the moment. It is what keeps us healthy. And I will you know we'll keep him up to date it is as as we can.

GL: So we touched on a lot of things. I mean, is there anything else that you want to add?

AH: I don't think so. I'm not sure I can think of at the moment.

GL: All right. Well, I really appreciate your time and then swimming with us and doing the work that you do. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate it contribution to the Campus Covid Stories that UW Oshkosh. This is Grace Lim interviewing Angela Hawley Part Two. Okay, Angela, I'm sorry. I I really didn't want to talk about the mental health issues that came about toward 00:39:00that what, did you see a change from pre pandemic to through the early days of pandemic to now?

AH: Yes, mental health was a we see mental health in our office, we did before the pandemic. Mainly we see them for the medication side so we partner with the counseling center. They provide kind of the you know, the therapy side and then we work together on treatment and where the medication aspect. We started to see an increase in mental health you know, in Fall especially. But mainly you would talk to people and their stories where it started in spring. You know, when the when the when the safer at home order and the shutdown and Coronavirus, all the fear and the changes you know we especially for freshmen that came in the fall they would talk about how they didn't get a graduation you know their senior year was uprooted and what usually is an amazing you know amazing year finishing it with your friends and all the fun aspects that around that they didn't have any that. So that either started or really exacerbated already a mental health 00:40:00that was there. And then just adding the fear of COVID. And the certain, you know, surrounding circumstances, we started to see more individuals in our office that were seeking out care for depression and anxiety from that.

GL: So did the students come in to see you first before they go see the counselor? Or how does that work?

AH: Either or. So there are some students who seek out our care first, and then we encourage therapy as well. But there are many students who get referred to us from the Counseling Center. So they seek their services out first. And then through their evaluation, they feel that as somebody who would benefit from medication, so then they would refer them to our office.

GL: And you're able to prescribe, I guess,

AH: Yep, yep, we could prescribe medication management for them. Before the pandemic, you know, all our visits were in person. So we saw for everything was in person. But again, telehealth, you know, started with a pandemic, in our 00:41:00office and has persisted since. And this is a visit that we can do via telehealth pretty easily, and is a very important one to do and continue. So we have continued a lot of our visits for mental health, telehealth still, because patients also prefer that You know, there's a little bit more of a convenience factor that they can do it from home and don't have to come in and see us or do virtually. So we can still see each other but through the computer.

GL: I mean, I know they don't have the numbers here. But I mean, did you see, just offhand, I mean, how big a increase would you say? From like, the pre pan, you know, like, say, fall of 2019. to compare it to fall 2020.

AH: You know, I don't know if I can even give you an estimate, I definitely I can pull numbers for you to let you know. I'm not sure but it's still something that is continuing in this semester, as providers, we saw quite a bit more still 00:42:00and of first appointments. So we know, there's people that we see, obviously the for the first time, and then we continue their management, while they're here at the at the university, but we had quite a few initial appointments this semester. So fall of 2021. And still, the pandemic is something that is talked about and adds to their story of how it affects them mentally.

GL: So what are they saying now, the students are well, you know, I know that you can talk about specific cases, but just generally, what are their what are their concerns?

AH: The fear of how is it going, the virus going to affect them, but also family members and how it's isolating them. You know, there's a lot of people, family, people, within a family, within friend groups, they all have different opinions, you know, on what, what they've been doing to are they worried of the virus are they not. But it's, it's been isolating a lot of individuals and that they're, they're scared to go out and to get the virus because they're not sure how it would affect them, or they don't want to take it home, to their grandmother 00:43:00who's in their 80s or 90s. So they're kind of stopped stopping themselves from going out and doing the things they used to do. And that is that isolation is causing anxiety, but also the academic side of it, you know, they're still nervous to some of them to go, be in classrooms with people, or just finishing online that you know, some people are not built for online education and so, you know, that also can create an issue or concerns with people and that just leads to more isolation as well. And people aren't able to get the connections on campus through online classes as much as they used to in person.

GL: How do you counsel these students with these kinds of concerns?

AH: So you know, the first thing is always you know, we always I can't think of the word I'm looking for, we always, thank them for coming in. And it's hard you know, how hard it is to make that first initial step. But we tried to think of 00:44:00ways that they can outreach with people you know, is it virtual? I mean, do you do it's not the same but do you do FaceTime talks with people or do you get tested you know, do your test do your to do your test yourself every so often or before you're going somewhere? It's not perfect, but is that a way to kind of help with the anxiety a little bit and, and obviously reaching out to professors, you know, that's a we strongly encourage students and help them, you know, with accommodations or on campus or ways that they can help with that anxiety or, or to get out a little bit how can they find groups or, you know, things like that, that they can do even virtually, if that's what's comfortable for them

GL: As a, you know, you know, medical person, how do you think this is gonna affect us? You know, in the near long term.

AH: You know, I think Coronavirus is still it's gonna be a concern for years. It's not gonna, you know, we want the pandemic to be over. But unfortunately, 00:45:00the long lasting is, is going to happen for years, you know, I think the increase in mental health is going to continue. And so just, I think, bring in just the broad awareness of mental health and that you're not alone. And it's okay to reach out. I mean, that's what therapy is, therefore, that's what we're there from a medication aspect and to really feel comfortable reaching out to others and to not be not feel like you're alone in this situation.

GL: Knowing what you know, now, I mean, we're almost two years into this. You know, are there things that you would have done differently?

AH: You know, overall, I think that we've had a really good response to the to the pandemic. You know, I think you could always do more education, right. Like, there's, I think there's more outreach that you can always do. So I think that's something that maybe we could have done more on campus to even somehow reach 00:46:00people even at home, you know, that we're here, you know, we're a resource, we're still here. We have not gone anywhere. I think that's something from, you know, a health center office that we probably could have done to help people a little bit more just navigate through. But other than that, I mean, I think we've changed our processes and tried to stay up to date and provide the care that we always have done.

GL: Well, again, thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate them. Thank you.