While the National Mood Is Grim, Internet Campaign at Johns Hopkins Medicine Goes Just a Tad Upbeat, Building Staff Morale While Standing Out from the Crowd

October 21, 2020

// By Peter Hochstein //

Peter HochsteinHey, there’s a pandemic going on! Hospital workers are supposed to look harassed, grave, and ready to collapse from exhaustion, right? That’s not quite the way the communicators and staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine saw it. Result? Internet views by the — no, not by the thousands, by multiples of tens of thousands — along with a big boost in staff morale.

Shawn Van Horn, carpenter, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Shawn Van Horn, carpenter, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Let’s start with Shawn Van Horn. He’s not the kind of employee most hospitals tend to feature in their online video advertising. He’s part of the carpentry staff, a regular blue-collar kind of guy, and he’s talking about what he’s been doing lately — helping with various kinds of construction necessitated at Johns Hopkins Medicine by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johns Hopkins Medicine is a big system, with 2,643 beds across six hospital campuses, all but one of them in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area, more than 107,000 inpatient admissions annually, and more than 932,000 outpatient visits a year. So the pressures during a pandemic can be widespread, made intense by the sheer number of people involved, and can be felt in numerous ways. Van Horn explains it from his own point of view.

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