It’s no secret that 2020 was an extremely tough year to be a medical professional.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has demanded an incredible amount of resilience, dedication and skill from physicians and advanced practice professionals. Expert care is more appreciated than ever. Even though there is little time to celebrate, it’s important to recognize the providers who are always ready to respond to the needs of the community.
Members of Acclaim Physician Group, which partners with JPS Health Network to staff the organization with healthcare providers, this year invited doctors across the organization to nominate their peers. They then voted online for nominees, choosing Critical Care Intensivist Dr. Jocelyn Zee as Physician of the Year and Nurse Practitioner Julie Durand as Advanced Practice Professional of the Year.
“I’m beyond grateful and extremely humbled to be named Physician of the Year,” Zee said. “When I heard I won the award, I couldn’t believe it. It doesn’t just belong to me. It belongs to every single physician who has pitched in to help this year. I want to share it with all of them.”
Durand agreed that success requires a team effort and that it’s difficult to accept accolades as an individual in a time when all hands are required on deck.
“This honor was certainly not expected, but I’m very flattered,” Durand said. “I appreciate the recognition. I feel I’ve been very well supported by my peers and really appreciated by the recognition. I get to work as part of a really great team. None of us could do what we do without each other.”
Zee has spent countless hours in the COVID patient areas at JPS where she struggles with her teammates through lengthy shifts filled with heartbreak and unwanted surprises. Patients seem to be doing alright and then, suddenly, they take a turn for the worse. Because the virus is a new disease, there is no play book on how to respond to it.
A Behavioral Health nurse practitioner, Durand is a co-director of advance practice. COVID has caused a dramatic increase in demand for mental health care in a couple of different ways.
“We have seen a surge of patients with psychiatric problems who are COVID-19 positive, and we’ve seen people with COVID-related psychological problems which include the damage done by the fear the disease puts into people who get it and by things indirectly related to the virus such as job loss.
“I think everyone has really worked together incredibly well,” Durand said. “It has definitely required some strategic changes. But we’ve found solutions to problems as they come up, and it’s really shown what we’re capable of as a team.”