Pharmacy fellow volunteers at COVID-19 field hospital

A male pharmacist wearing a mask stands outside of a temporary hospital built at the Meadowlands Exposition Center.

Ramsey Samy, BS’15 (Metro), PharmD’19 (Flor), outside of his volunteer post at the Secaucus Field Hospital in the Meadowlands Exposition Center.

By Rebecca Maxon

May 19, 2020 — Two weeks into his volunteer service at a field hospital, Ramsey Samy, BS’15 (Metro), PharmD’19 (Flor), moved out of his parents’ home to protect his family from exposure to the coronavirus. He faced the possibility of contracting COVID-19 on the job at the Secaucus Field Hospital, especially once his allotted supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) ran out. Eventually, volunteers received more supplies, but not before Samy had to walk through patient-care areas without a face shield.

“The most difficult-to-handle situation I faced,” says Samy, “was during an overnight shift, when a patient’s vitals were unstable, and the temporary hospital staff members were unable to find the ordered stat medications. I reassured them that the medications they needed were available through the automated dispensing unit on the floor. I temporarily shut down the pharmacy to ensure that the medications reached the patient in time. At the patient’s tent, I monitored vitals to confirm that they received proper care.”

Samy notes that the Secaucus Field Hospital was the first pop-up hospital to successfully care for and discharge several COVID-19 patients. The field hospital was built by order of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. “The temporary hospitals were initially set up to reduce the strain on our health care system by providing acute care facilities to folks without COVID-19.”

As an undergraduate student at FDU, Samy studied science and then went on to earn a doctor of pharmacy at FDU’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SOPHS) at the Florham Campus.

“Though we may see spikes in the infection rates,” Samy says of the future curve of the virus, “I am encouraged that we will continue to slow the spread because of the heroic efforts of folks that are social distancing, essential front-line personnel and clinical researchers.”

Beyond his volunteer efforts, Samy is doing a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the SOPHS, where Assistant Dean of Experiential Education Barbara Rossi and FDU preceptors at Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BD) guide him “to engage in projects aligned with my career goals specializing as an industry pharmacist,” he says.

“I was able to undertake several exciting research projects for which I submitted research to medical conferences and contributed to global policy changes to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases among health care workers,” Samy says.

Professionally, his education, training and volunteer experiences at FDU’s SOPHS and at the field hospital have motivated Samy to respond to this global pandemic and have enabled him to contribute to patient care within his community.

“I now plan to work as an educator” — Samy lectures at SOPHS in the Pharmacoepidemiology class with Jayoung Han, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, and assists in clinical labs — “while pursuing a career path that combines both my industry and hospital experiences.”

Post-virus, his personal plans are to visit his family and to marry his fiancée.

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