WVU Medicine employee is first nurse to die as a result of COVID-19 in W.Va.

Coronavirus

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Nurses Association has confirmed that a WVU Medicine nurse in Morgantown is the first nurse in the state to die as a result of COVID-19.

In an official statement, WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright stated that earlier this week, officials learned the unfortunate news that a long-time WVU Medicine employee in Morgantown, who had recently tested positive for COVID-19, died due to complications from the disease. The deceased nurse is 48-year-old Jeannette Williams-Parker.

In the statement, Wright said that Williams-Parker leaves behind her fiancé, who is also an employee at Ruby Memorial Hospital and her 18-year-old daughter, who is experiencing her first semester at WVU as a nursing student.

Wright’s statement said that Williams-Parker was a clinical nurse preceptor and nurse supervisor of MRI. She joined the MRI team at Ruby Memorial Hospital in 1997 and was the first nurse to work in that program, according to the statement. At the time of her death, she was the nursing leader for all pediatric anesthesia coordination and the focused ultrasound MRI program.

“I’m told that Jeannette lived on the sunny side of life, and that her energy, enthusiasm, and positive attitude were all highly infectious and helped sustain the MRI team,” Wright stated. “The patients for whom she cared likewise adored her. And while I never had the opportunity to meet Jeannette, honoring and remembering her is important, as is celebrating her life and recognizing her many contributions to WVU Medicine.”

Wright went on to say, “Jeannette’s passing is also an unwelcome reminder that COVID-19 remains with us. Our collective hope is that one day soon we can resume our daily lives and put all of this behind us. Unfortunately, we just aren’t there yet, and regrettably, the loss of someone who was so cherished as “Nettie” reminds us that we still have some tough days ahead.”

The West Virginia Nurses Association said they hope to keep up the work of trying to keep nurses as safe as possible both to honor Williams-Parker’s memory and to keep her daughter in good health, too.

“We need to do what we can do to make it safe for her daughter. That’s how we can honor her: pick up the work and carry it on and do what we can do to keep her daughter safe, the future nurses,” said WVNA President Joyce Wilson.

Wright stated that Williams-Parker’s daughter has created a Go Fund Me page in honor of her mother for those who wish to provide a donation.

Wilson is also asking West Virginians to do their part by wearing masks and taking social distancing precautions to help keep everyone healthier.

“Please do what you can do to take care of not spreading this virus so that we don’t have as many people that are sick and so we can not get sick ourselves, and then we will be there to take care of you and your loved ones.” said Wilson.

The West Virginia Nurses Association plans to recognize Jeannette Williams-Parker at its annual nursing policy summit on March 25, 2021, and at its nursing conference later that year in October.

The WVNA also said it is available to support nurses in the state as they deal with COVID-19 grief, PTSD and work stress and is also available to offer nurses general support.

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