The director of infection prevention and control at Saint Joseph London and Saint Joseph Berea, Gladys Cornn, RN, BS, CIC, has worked in London for over 35 years. This year, as Saint Joseph London celebrates the 10th anniversary in its current building, she reflected on the opening of the new hospital. The first few days were a blur of activity as employees transferred equipment and patients.
"I volunteered to be a guide during our open houses," Cornn said. "I am proud to share this beautiful hospital along with the other great people working here. It is exciting to have all-private patient rooms and numerous negative-pressure isolation rooms. Those features have been true blessings during the COVID-19 pandemic. This provides us the ability to serve others in a safe, flexible environment."
Cornn has seen a lot during her career, but nothing quite like the pandemic. Her role as the director of infection prevention and control positions her at the center of the ministry's response.
"I'm the liaison between local, state and federal public health agencies and the CHI Saint Joseph Health Infection Prevention and Control team," Cornn said. "I help ensure we stay up to date with the latest guidelines from CommonSpirit Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies. I provide that information in a timely manner to our physicians, leaders and staff so that we can make the best decisions for patients, visitors and our community."
Food for the Body and Spirit
The challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic often result in long workdays for Cornn, but that doesn't stop her from helping those in need.
"Some nights when I get off work, I load up my vehicle and deliver fresh produce as part of my church's ministry," she said. "Some of the green beans and other vegetables come from my family farm. Several of my church's older members can't leave home, so it really helps them out. I enjoy being a mom to my son, Andy, and spending time with family and friends."
Before the pandemic, Cornn enjoyed taking a few older women from her church to a local water aerobics class. That, along with working in the church, singing in the choir, teaching and organizing their food booth for local festivals, has kept her busy. That's in keeping with her belief in using a positive attitude, light heart and good spirit to encourage others to reach their potential.
"I will always tell myself that all I have to do is smile, work hard and love Jesus," Cornn said. "If I do those things consistently, everything will be OK."