Name: Heather Strope MSN,RN

Tell us about yourself?

About your job:  WHS Nurse Manager, Staffing Patient Placement, Team Coordinator forYOU team

How long have you been employed at WHS?  I’ve been working at Washington Health System since March of 2002. So it’s been 18.5 years.

Was it always in the same department?  No, I worked in 6E for 4.5 years, as an Administrative Nursing Supervisor for 4.5 years, as an Assistant Manager for 1.5 years, and have been in my current role as Nurse Manager since December of 2010.

I‘ve also been working for Concordia Hospice of Washington as a Hospice RN since December 2016.

What extra duties have you taken on during COVID 19 (if any)?  I’m also the team coordinator of the WHS forYOU team, an internal peer support program. This program is important for our team members. It allows our staff to have an emotional support system, when they need it.  The forYOu team has been very active with referrals throughout the COVID pandemic.

Education:  West Virginia University (Bachelors of Art in Sociology and Anthropology), West Liberty State College (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and Waynesburg University (Master of Science- Nursing Administration)

Hobbies outside of work:Traveling with friends/family (favorite spot Smokey Mountains), WVU football, camping, and hiking.

Family, pets, etc?  2 dachshunds- Fritz (will be 13 on 10.03) and Violet (will be 3 on 03.13.21), 1 sister and 1 brother. 4 nephews and 1 niece

What household chore do you actually enjoy?

Mowing the lawn. No trimming or weed eating, though.

What is the best concert you have attended?

Tough one. I would have to say George Straight, although I have been to some great concerts, including Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, and Luke Combs.

If you could have a 2 hour lunch with one person – anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be?

Hmm.  I would say Princess Diana; she was certainly “the people’s princess”.  Her legacy of kindness and compassion has always inspired me.  During the tough times, she never lost her smile or laughs and continued to inspire with her selfless kindness. During this time of uncertainty throughout the world, I often wonder how she would be handling everything.  I am certain she would be on the front lines, holding hands of those dying and providing compassionate support to everyone.

I would also like to have one more lunch with Carol Orbin, one of my best friends that we lost unexpectedly last year. Again, she exhibited kindness and compassion to everyone she met and no matter what kind of day you were having, Carol was there providing a good laugh.

What (or who) are you grateful for?

My health and my family.  Working in healthcare puts family and health in prospective. Tomorrow is not promised for any of us; so make today count.  “Live your Dash.”

What TV shows are you hooked on?

New Amsterdam and NCIS.

What do you want people to know about the COVID-19 pandemic and about what’s happening at WHS?

COVID-19 is affecting all of us, whether you work in healthcare, retail or another business sector.  WHS is taking all the precautions to continue to provide great care to our patients and it is safe to receive care at any of our sites.

The forYOU team, a peer support program implemented in December 2019, has been active during the pandemic.  Members of the team made rounds throughout the health system at the beginning of the pandemic. In June the forYOU team held open forums across the system that allowed team members to come and freely talk about the emotions they were experiencing.  COVID-19 is scary.  There is not a lot known about the virus, other than it is highly contagious and can result in death for some, and recommendations are continuously changing.  The forYOU team’s message to all of our team members at WHS is, what we are experiencing may be normal emotions, but no one has to navigate those feelings alone.  We have an entire team willing to work through emotions with others.

“Our mission at Washington Health System is not only to provide great patient care, but also make sure our team members are well taken care of,” “In paying attention to the well-being of our employees and frontline staff, we are better prepared to care for our patients.”

In August, WHS received the HAP (Healthcare and Hospital Association of Pennsylvania) award for Optimal Operations for the forYOU team.  This award is given to hospital and health systems for innovation and best practices.  WHS was recognized for being one of the few health systems in the state offer a peer support program for healthcare team members.

*** My mom told me at age 6 I was going to be a nurse.  My brother had fallen and received a laceration (requiring stitches) to his head.  My sister went to get my mom and dad (doing yard work) and when they arrived (moments later); I had my toddler brother laying on my lap and was holding a cold compress and pressure to his head.   I am not certain how I knew to do that (must have seen it on Sesame Street) but my mom has always said I had the internal instinct and I would grow up to be a nurse. I was convinced I would be a music teacher.  Well….. Always listen to your parents; they are ALWAYS right.

Photos of Family