As St. Luke’s University Health Network began preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic, its dedicated health care workers stepped to the forefront. Sonia Iparraguirre, RN, who works on Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8, was literally on the front line as she admitted the first COVID-19 patient at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem.
Iparraguirre was recently honored for her contributions to St. Luke’s pandemic mobilization and her commitment to the health of the community by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Lehigh Valley during its annual gala. Streamed from SteelStacks in Bethlehem on October 8, the theme of the gala was “The Heroes Among Us.”
“Sonia embraced this unknown challenge with true grace and professionalism,” says Rebecca Boyer, BSN, RN, Patient Care Manager, Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8.
“She not only played a vital role in providing quality patient care, she went above and beyond in providing the intangibles that played such a crucial and meaningful role during this uncertain time.”
These intangibles, Boyer explains, included comforting patients on isolation, spending time to listen to patients crying in fear of the effects of COVID-19, and facilitating communication with these patients’ family members.
“Sonia is an outstanding example of St. Luke’s commitment to caring for COVID-19 patients and all those we serve in our community,” says Janice Concilio, St. Luke’s Vice President of Patient Care Services.
Iparraguirre, a Bethlehem resident, earned her nursing degree from Saint Peter’s University in New Jersey.
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke's University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 15,000 employees providing services at 11 hospitals and 300 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke's is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke's created the Lehigh Valley's first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 34 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 263 residents and fellows. St. Luke's is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system with Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. In 2019, three of IBM Watson Health's 100 Top Hospitals were St. Luke's hospitals. St. Luke's University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health seven times total and five years in a row. St. Luke's has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN's information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke's is also recognized as one of the state's lowest cost providers.