Alumna, adjunct faculty on the Front Line of Local Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
Caitlin Sculley ’15 MHA has brought her clinical background, leadership skills, and dedication to caring for patients and healthcare providers to her new role as part of Yale New Haven Hospital’s response to the pandemic.
March 26, 2020
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Caitlin Sculley ’15 MHA has taken on a critical role in helping to respond to the impact of the coronavirus global pandemic and in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Appointed less than two weeks ago as the acting operations director of Yale New Haven Hospital’s COVID-19 specimen collection center, Sculley believes her charge as a healthcare professional far transcends her day-to-day – and ever-evolving – responsibilities.
“In healthcare administration, our main duty is serving patients,” said Sculley, an adjunct faculty in the University’s School of Health Sciences. “When you’re in healthcare, you’re in the field to care for patients – both in the community and across the nation as a whole.”
She is tasked with ensuring efficient operations at the center. Every two hours she assesses testing demands to determine whether or not to alter staffing and scheduling. She describes it as a “delicate balance,” since she needs to weigh their demands with the center’s supplies, which are highly sought after.
"Healthcare is naturally fast-paced, but during this pandemic, it feels like one hour is two weeks." Caitlin Sculley '15 MHA
In addition to running day-to-day site operations, Sculley works with different areas of the center, including IT, occupational health, the lab, and scheduling. She oversees the process of notifying patients of their test results and provides guidance on quarantining. She ensures that patients are tested when appropriate and that results are communicated appropriately.
“Healthcare is naturally fast-paced, but during this pandemic, it feels like one hour is two weeks,” she said. “It is crucial to be at the top of your game, since you have to work through very high-stress situations.”
A graduate of the University’s Master of Healthcare Administration program, Sculley believes the real-world experiences she gained as a student – including an internship at a federally qualified health center – prepared her for her current role. She says her exposure to the healthcare needs of diverse populations and her coursework helped her to grow as a leader.
Sculley has served as an internal consultant for the Yale New Haven Health System since 2016. Prior to that, she was an operations project manager for Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Summer McGee, Ph.D., dean of the University’s School of Health Sciences and director of its MHA program, says Sculley embodies the passion and commitment she sees throughout the University’s MHA program.
“She is an inspiring healthcare leader who is willing and eager to take on some of the biggest challenges of 21st century healthcare,” said Dr. McGee. “She is a shining example of how the MHA degree can lead clinicians into exciting new administrative and leadership opportunities. Not only does she give back to the University by teaching, she is giving back to our entire community right now by taking on this vital role.”
"During this pandemic, I’ve seen the barriers and organizational siloes completely go away as everyone is collaborating and rolling up their sleeves when it matters the most." Caitlin Sculley '15 MHA
After accepting the position, Sculley made the difficult decision to forgo leading the capstone class as part of the University’s MHA program so that she could dedicate herself to serving the New Haven community. She looks forward to returning to teaching when the pandemic has passed.
“It was a tough decision, but I had to prioritize serving the community during the pandemic,” she said. “I have a unique skillset, and it was my calling to step up during this crisis.”
Her priority is now the health and well-being of patients and employees. She is managing the emotional support of nurses, connecting with front line workers, and helping everyone to work together.
Sculley is navigating uncharted waters, and she and her colleagues are continuing to learn as they work together to ensure the safety of the community. She will have many lessons to share with her students when she returns to the classroom.
"During this pandemic, I’ve seen the barriers and organizational siloes completely go away as everyone is collaborating and rolling up their sleeves when it matters the most," she said. "This is such a powerful thing to see and provides hope in a time of crisis.”
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