Susan Fisher: “It’s about protecting human life, it’s that simple.”

by Monica Hoel

Susan McConnell Fisher (E&H ’03) shares insights about the pandemic from the perspective of a healthcare professional.

Susan McConnell Fisher (E&H Class of 2003) is a Nurse Practitioner in Richmond, Virginia. She says she recently found a new expression that aptly described what it has been like as the health care community organized to get ready for a surge in patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. “An article I read, coined the phrase ‘pre-traumatic stress syndrome’ rather than post. In other words, fearing what was to come and I felt it described what we were experiencing perfectly.”

However, recently a new attitude has taken over. “I think the fear and anxiety is still there but we have turned more to a ‘we can handle whatever is thrown at us’ approach, and are dealing with things as best we can. Thankfully, government in Virginia acted more swiftly than in some states with implementing mitigation techniques and we are better prepared than others.

Now that she and her co-workers feel more confident about preparation, Susan’s goal is the same it has been for 15 years – first as a nurse, now as a Nurse Practioner: it’s about treating the patient. And she wants people to understand that politics is not part of the equation; she doesn’t have patients with COVID-19 or patients with heart disease…she has people who are sick and need help.  “For those of us caring for patients, we have one goal: to treat what ails you and send you on your way. Everything we are doing right now is to meet that goal, to keep people safe. This is not about politics for us. We don’t want you to be our patient with COVID-19.”

Susan has the added concern of looking out for her family: worried she’ll bring the virus home to one of them, or worried she’ll get sick and won’t be able to take care of things at home. She is grateful that her childcare center is still open because it’s connected to the hospital. “My children haven’t noticed much of a change in their daily routines and that is such a blessing.”

In the midst of so much work and stress, Susan has also found a way to be hopeful; and she is optimistic about what is down the road. “We can’t control everything, even though we would like to. We just have to focus on what we can control and adapt as best we can. We are still learning about this virus, and will continue to for quite some time. We need to be able to be more fluid, be able to change and sometimes rather quickly. That’s difficult for a lot of people. But during a crisis, you see a lot of strength come from people, from humanity. When I see that, I know we will get through all of this and we’ll be ok.”

…we have turned more to a ‘we can handle whatever is thrown at us’ approach.”
Susan McConnell Fisher
E&H Class of 2003

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2460-brian-serway-providing-space-for-neo-appalachian"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.jpg" alt="" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/876,512,2496,2134/12153_image0_1.rev.1663786627.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1620" data-max-h="1622" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2460-brian-serway-providing-space-for-neo-appalachian">Brian Serway: Providing Space for Neo-Appalachian Art</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> All the art in Brian Serway’s new store is Appalachian. But If you’re looking for quilts or dried apple dolls or a squirrel carved from a peach pit, you’re in for an exciting surprise. <a href="/live/news/2460-brian-serway-providing-space-for-neo-appalachian" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2145-hooked-on-matt-reilly-fly-fishing"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.jpg" alt="Matt Reilly Emory & Henry Class of 2018" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/189,93,1245,1149/10693_271340844_659435785235455_4346640775979836869_n.rev.1641946454.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1056" data-max-h="1056" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2145-hooked-on-matt-reilly-fly-fishing">Hooked on Matt Reilly Fly Fishing</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Matt Reilly says of his job: “I take people fishing.” But is <em>that</em> ever an understatement. <a href="/live/news/2145-hooked-on-matt-reilly-fly-fishing" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1646-eamph-in-the-city-volunteers-honored-by-eamph"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/347,0,887,540/681_EHCITY.rev.1506460929.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/347,0,887,540/681_EHCITY.rev.1506460929.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/347,0,887,540/681_EHCITY.rev.1506460929.jpg" alt="E&H in the City routinely involves more than 60 volunteers. (From Abingdon's event in 2017.)" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="540" data-max-h="540" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1646-eamph-in-the-city-volunteers-honored-by-eamph">E&H in the City Volunteers Honored by E&H Alumni Association</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Emory & Henry in the City Volunteers have been named the 2021 recipients of the Fred Selfe Distinctive Service to Emory & Henry Award. (<a href="https://www.ehc.edu/alumni/get-involved/alumni-awards/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Read more about E&H Alumni Awards</span>.)</a></p><a href="/live/news/1646-eamph-in-the-city-volunteers-honored-by-eamph" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2642-eric-drummond-smith-where-politics-and-art-collide"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,375,375/12782_Eric_Smith.rev.1669858087.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,375,375/12782_Eric_Smith.rev.1669858087.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,375,375/12782_Eric_Smith.rev.1669858087.jpg" alt="Dr. Eric Drummond Smith E&H Class of 1998" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="375" data-max-h="375" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2642-eric-drummond-smith-where-politics-and-art-collide">Eric Drummond Smith: Where Politics and Art Collide</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Dr. Eric Drummond Smith teaches politics at UVA-Wise, and is often called on to offer his pundit skills during an election cycle. But it’s hard to say whether he’s better known for his chops as a political scientist or as a well-known artist. <a href="/live/news/2642-eric-drummond-smith-where-politics-and-art-collide" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1007-eamph-homecoming-announces-new-event-a-book"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,313,499/6987_selfe.rev.1570067073.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,313,499/6987_selfe.rev.1570067073.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,313,499/6987_selfe.rev.1570067073.jpg" alt="Cover of “Great Big Small Things" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="313" data-max-h="499" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1007-eamph-homecoming-announces-new-event-a-book">E&H Homecoming Announces New Event: A Book Signing!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> E&H alumni and faculty members will be selling and signing their original work. <a href="/live/news/1007-eamph-homecoming-announces-new-event-a-book" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>