MALLORY DELANEY MET CHALLENGE
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – For certified Physician’s Assistant Mallory Delaney, medicine isn’t about talking to a patient.
It’s about listening.
“You want to get people to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat,” she said. “No matter what road they’re going to go down.”
For example, she said, it was easier to get patients to wear masks if they knew it would keep a parent or elderly relative safe. “You have to be collaborative with patients,” she said.
“It’s figuring out what they’re scared of or looking forward to, and working with them from there.”
Delaney, who works at the Bassett Heathcare Clinic at 125 Main St., was named one of this year’s state Senate’s “Women of Distinction” during a ceremony last week, where she was presented a plaque by state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.
“It’s really a remarkable honor,” she said. “But I can’t help but think that this year, all the women in healthcare should be Woman of the Year!”
“I would not be here without the dedication of our healthcare workers,” said Seward, who battled COVID earlier this year. “Normally we put out a press release asking for nominations but, this year, I thought it was important to name a woman in healthcare who gave exemplary service during the pandemic.”
Delaney was recommended to him by now-retired Bassett Healthcare Network President/CEO Bill Streck. “The more I read and heard about her, the more convinced I was that she was an excellent choice,” said Seward.
A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Delaney did her undergraduate at Penn State and her physician assistant’s program at Duke University.
“I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine,” she said. “Then I did the LIFE Geisinger program in Scranton, working with elderly and frail populations, and I thought that it might be a direction I wanted to go in.”
She worked at Our Lady of Peace convent, taking care of elderly nuns. “It really taught me to be collaborative with patients,” she said.
In 2014, she moved to Oneonta for the job at Bassett.
It was that bedside manner that helped when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and Delaney found herself outside all day every day, in snow, in sleet, in rain, administering “drive-thru” COVID tests in the parking lot.
“When we first started, I joked that we should just go ahead and put up decorations for the Fourth of July,” she said. “And the other nurse said that there was no way we’d still be here! We had to keep our sense of humor.”
Before rapid-testing and saliva tests were available, patients had to sit, often in the cold, and have a swab shoved deep into their nostrils. “I would tell them to think about some-thing in the future they were looking forward to,” she said.
If one was particularly nervous, she could reassure them with her own experience. “I told people that I had it done and it wasn’t even the worst part of my day,” she said.
In all, she estimates she did well over a thousand tests. “For awhile, we were doing 300 tests a month,” she said.
She lives in Oneonta with her cat, Charlie, who she adopted from the Susquehanna SPCA. She volunteers with the shelter, and plays flute at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where she is also a parishioner.
And when she got the call that she had been chosen to receive the Woman of Distinction award, she was at the bedside of an elderly neighbor, assisting her with her end-of-life needs.
“True to form, she was tending to someone’s needs,” Seward said.