‘We’ve banded together’: Franke praises pandemic response

How do you stay connected when gatherings stop, priorities change and a once bustling hospital campus seems eerily quiet?

When meetings are online and cafes are empty, how do we stay connected? Longtime nurse Becky Ruppert wanted to show our community firsthand how our hospital family is doing — so she began Connections, a series of candid interviews with people on the front lines at Salem Health.

First up is Josh Franke, director of our cancer and cardiovascular services. 

What is your typical day like in the two service lines that you direct?

Fifty percent is rounding with front-line staff, providers and leadership. Twenty percent is reviewing and responding to emails and calls. Another 20% is data tracking, and 10% is coordinating with our external stakeholders such as Oregon Oncology Specialists and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

What has uplifted you during the pandemic; maybe something that has surprised you?

That we’ve banded together under difficult circumstances. We function in camaraderie for the benefit of all.

What are you doing to maintain a healthy balance at home and work?

There is no shortage of work to do. I could spend my entire waking hours at work and not get through it all. I do though recognize that I need to balance, so that’s what I strive for. I try to spend time with my wife and two girls first thing in the morning each day and get into work at a decent hour. My family gives me the charge I need to maximize my impact at work and for our community. When my meetings end and I have my urgent tasks taken care of, I leave work at a decent hour (most days) and enjoy the time I get to spend with my family in the evenings.

If you had one message to share with everyone, now that we are into month five of the pandemic, what would that be?

Continue to connect with people, places and things that lift you up, make you smile, make you remember your mission in life, and to be fully present in each moment.

If you could do a “shout out” to someone, who would that be and why?

There are so many people who come to mind. I think my shout-out would go to the entire staff who day after day, care for our COVID-19 patients. They come to work as they are scheduled, knowing that they will be working with patients who have this disease.

Finally, what haven’t I asked you that you’d like to share?

There is so much happening outside the walls of this hospital. In addition to the pandemic, we have riots, unrest, politics and disagreements. We need to talk to each other and have an open dialogue. We can come together by openly and honestly facing the impact this all has on us.

Do you have a question about Salem Health or an idea for someone on our staff you’d like to learn more about? Email us at — or reach out to us on Salem Health’s Facebook page!