Administering the Vaccine and a Winning Spirit of Optimism

Albany Med is proud to be serving as the Regional Hub coordinator for Covid-19 vaccine distribution—and prouder, still, of the many members of its workforce who have jumped on board to assist New York State with the large-scale effort: vaccinating a million people across the region.

Among them is Megan Keenan, DNP, MSN, RN, associate director of clinical registries and quality management, who said she has always been inspired by her Albany Med colleagues and never more than now. “We are moving safely at a very rapid pace. We might erect a pop-up clinic in as little as an hour or two, and so many of our nurses have been asked to volunteer,” she said. “Not for an instant do they hesitate. You never hear, ‘I can’t.’ It’s been very moving to see us stand up, as a group, and get to work on this.”

In her volunteer role, Keenan is administering the vaccine to Albany Med employees as well as people in the larger community. She is also recruiting volunteers.

She said she’ll never forget when the East Greenbush Fire Company arrived at Albany Med’s community vaccination location in early January. “My husband is a lifelong volunteer firefighter in East Greenbush, so I recognized many of them when they walked in,” she said. “Like all of the first responders we saw—EMTs and police officers—you could sense the weight they’ve been carrying over the past year as well as their relief and hopefulness. I was honored to vaccinate the chief of the department myself. It was such a good feeling, as a representative of Albany Med, to be helping all these people, some of whom are my friends.”

Equally moving, she said, was her own vaccination. She and Quality Supervisor Cindy M. Novak, MSN, RN, who Keenan describes as her “mentor and friend,” vaccinated one another. “I was elated,” she said.

Today, Keenan leads a team inside the hospital who generate data that is used to support quality improvement initiatives across the Medical Center. That work, she said, has continued apace. “Because I’m not in a patient-facing role right now,” she explained, “I have the flexibility to step away and work on the vaccination effort, then do my other work at night.”

While she’s putting in a lot of extra hours these days, she finds solace and rejuvenation at home. Keenan, her husband and their three children live on Shady Clover Farm, in Schodack, where they raise Nigerian dwarf goats, horses, pigs and chickens. “It’s a hobby farm,” she said, “and it’s turned out to be a pretty ideal place to be during the pandemic. There’s plenty to do and no need to ever leave home!”

An indefatigable optimist (Keenan’s personal motto is “Be the Good”), she said she is looking forward to continuing her work on the vaccination team. Yes, there are many more people to serve, she said, “but we have a forward vision and a goal to work toward. I love this work, and I’ll be here for as long as we need to keep it going.”