Nekeya Sanders has been a buyer in Bayhealth’s materials management department for the past six years. When the COVID situation began to ramp up at the end of March, she was asked to focus on critical areas, including respiratory therapy. It wasn’t just a typical shift in priorities, however. Many of the products she would normally purchase for RT were unavailable. She quickly realized she would need to change how she goes about her daily job and has been doing so ever since.
“I started calling multiple vendors for items and for the same types of items,” said Sanders. “It felt like I was looking for a needle in a haystack because people all over the country and sometimes, the world, were looking for the same things.”
To make sure supplies never ran out completely, Sanders began looking for suitable substitutes. As a result, she also formed a new type of partnership with RT leadership.
“Nekeya has been extremely helpful to us,” said Rachael Ali-Permell, Respiratory Therapy manager at Bayhealth Sussex Campus. “When we couldn’t get the supplies we normally use, she started calling every vendor possible to find a substitute. She would email a picture of the substitute to us and then call us to ask if it was comparable to the one we couldn’t get. Nekeya has been the key player in connecting us with these critical products because we can’t spend the amount of time she has making those calls.”
Nicole Jackson, respiratory therapy manager at Bayhealth Kent Campus, echoed Ali-Permell.
“All of the equipment we normally use has been on back order, but Nekeya is quick, responsive and will do whatever it takes to get you what you need,” said Jackson. “Nekeya has also taken the initiative to learn about how we use the products she’s buying for us and knows that just because a substitute may look the same as an original doesn’t mean it will work the way we need it to.”
Senior Director of Bayhealth Neurosciences Service Line Tom Cairo, who oversees RT, said the increased collaboration and level of communication between the teams has been essential for success in operations and patient care.
“There’s been so much communication and transparency between materials and respiratory,” said Cairo. “Without this partnership, we would not be able to provide the level of care required for our patients. I could not be more proud of the work we’ve done.”
Vice President of Resource Management Brian Dolan is also proud of the new partnership that’s been created between Materials Management and RT.
“Alongside every great supply chain professional is a key partnership,” said Dolan. “The partnership between Nekeya and Tom Cairo and his Respiratory Therapy leaders is remarkable. We are lucky to have that bond during this time.”