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Video of award presentation

The eighth annual Dr. Alexander Nesbitt Commitment to Caring Award was presented to the dedicated and hard-working nurses of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and COVID-19 units at UPMC Susquehanna during a virtual Healthcare Decisions Day event on hospice and end-of-life care on April 15, 2021.

Accepting the award on behalf of each department’s devoted staff were nurse leaders Betsy Trueman (ICU) and Rachel Borek (COVID – 5 E).

During what has been a most challenging year for many of us, these individuals coordinated a strategic and world-class medical response unlike any we have ever seen. This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic presented our health care heroes with a plethora of new obstacles on pretty much a daily basis. There were no past policies or procedures to look over for guidance, but rather a “mask up and get to work” attitude was needed.

And get to work they did!

At the peak of the pandemic, extra ICUs were opened in an effort to accommodate overflow patients and there was not a single empty bed available within the dedicated COVID units – 5 E at Williamsport was at or near capacity for weeks on end, resulting in some patients having to be transported to other hospitals within the UPMC network.

There was no working from the comfort and safety of home, an aspect of the “new normal” enjoyed by many other professions. Alternatively, these nurses put themselves and their families at constant risk of being exposed to the virus every time they punched the clock for their 12+ hour shift. An already stressful work environment became even more so due to staffing shortages and uncertain, ever-changing demands.

However, none of these hurdles hindered the unequivocal commitment to caring of nurses serving on the front lines. They fought and battled through this adversity – which at times seemed so overwhelming – to continue to provide our loved ones with high-quality and compassionate care. Making a positive difference in the lives of their patients each day by not succumbing to the heavy weight of fear and grief being continually casted upon their shoulders, instead they embraced the challenge and pressed forward, determined to beat the virus.

This expansive dedication to helping others (especially during a global pandemic) is why the nurses in the ICU & COVID units at UPMC Susquehanna are being honored this year as the recipients of the eighth annual Dr. Alexander Nesbitt Commitment to Caring Award.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Nesbitt spoke about the award, and acknowledged the 2021 recipients for their awe-inspiring devotion and compassion to serving the health care needs of our community during unprecedented times. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the award will be physically presented at a later date.

The Dr. Alexander Nesbitt Commitment to Caring Award was developed by the elder care law firm of Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak in 2014. The award, inspired by Dr. Nesbitt, recognizes an individual or nonprofit in the community who shows an extraordinary commitment to caring that improves the lives of others


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