Atrium Health paramedic, Rachel McMurphy

Coronavirus Updates | 4 months ago

Coronavirus from the Frontlines: Treating COVID-Positive Patients in the Safety of their Homes

“I wanted to work in healthcare because I truly just wanted to help people.” Atrium Health’s providers have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, caring for patients and supporting our communities.

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has evolved over the past several months, Atrium Health’s teammates have been on the frontlines, caring for our patients and providing essential assistance in their respective communities. It takes a united effort across our healthcare organization to make this happen, as our teammates still face the same challenges managing their personal lives that we all do. We’re all in this together. So, join us in recognizing these teammates for their ongoing efforts as they offer a look at the COVID-19 situation through their eyes.  


Rachel McMurphyEMTPis a community paramedic who uses her skills to treat patients in their own homes, where they feel most comfortable. And during the COVID-19 response, it’s helped keep many patients out of the hospital, thus reducing the spread. 

Question 1: Why did you want to work in healthcare? 

Answer 1 | McMurphy: I wanted to work in healthcare because I truly wanted to help people. I started off on an ambulance because I also enjoyed the adrenaline rush that I got from going non-stop. However, I was starting to feel pulled away from my patients. So, I moved into the emergency department to use my skills in a different way. I started Community Paramedicine right before COVID-19 hit. I am so happy that I did. I definitely found my calling.  

Q2: What has been your role in taking care of patients during the COVID-19 response? 

A2 | McMurphy: As a community paramedicI have been treating patients who are positive for COVID-19 in the safety of their homes. It helps keep them from going to the hospital for treatment.  

Q3: What have been some of the challenges that you’ve encountered during the COVID-19 response?  

A3 | McMurphy: Some of the challenges that I have encountered during COVID-19 are language barriers, appropriate PPE, and making sure to protect my own family. I have been able to overcome the language barrier with patients thanks to Atrium Health Language Services, using an interpreter over the phone. Because the virus was so new, guidelines for PPE changed daily, but my management always made sure we had the appropriate PPE to keep us safe. I am provided with scrubs daily to change into, the PPE I need to protect myself, and continue to practice hand hygiene. Therefore, by protecting myself I can protect my husband and children.  

Q4: Name something that has stayed with you during the COVID-19 response.  

A4 | McMurphy: We have recently started seeing newborns for wellness checks because the mother tested positive and therefore cannot take her child into a doctor’s office. Some of these mothers have not even held their child yet. I’m able to at least let them know how their baby is doing and give them some peace of mind. As a mother myself, this has stayed with me the most during COVID-19.  

Q5: How are you personally overcoming the stressors of COVID-19 and trying to unwind while not on the job?   

A5 | McMurphy: I overcome the stressors of COVID-19 by spending my days off with my family. My 10-month-old is keeping me on my toes. She is a crawling machine and now trying to walk. My 3-and-a-half-year-old likes to play outside. My husband recently built me a raised garden bed so, I hope my green thumb is on point this summer.