1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN, FAAN


We need to celebrate the wins wherever we find them.


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As we near Thanksgiving, I increasingly find myself looking for positive things-things to help diminish the sadness over the mounting COVID-19 deaths and to abate the frustration over the inconsistent messaging about shutdowns.

Figure. Maureen Shaw... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Maureen Shawn Kennedy

I realize I am one of the lucky ones. While I've had family members ill and hospitalized with COVID-19, none have died. I know too many others, though, who have not been as fortunate. And from the stories in the Frontline Nurses WikiWisdom Forum ( initiative AJN cosponsored to elicit the experiences of nurses during the pandemic-I know that many nurses carry these losses with them and feel they "could have/should have" done more for patients and families. As a profession, we mourn the loss from COVID-19 of more than 1,000 colleagues-the number reported in a September survey of 44 countries by the International Council of Nurses. Given the continuing cases and lack of reporting in many countries, the number is likely underestimated. Yes, 2020 has been a very tough year.


I'm by no means a Pollyanna, but I believe incessant dwelling on the negatives doesn't help any of us; we also need to examine the positives. I recall how exhausting it was to work a long, hard shift alongside someone who complained about everything. The negativity colored my own perceptions and stayed with me well after the shift ended. Conversely, working with colleagues who offered support and voiced a "we will get through this" attitude inspired confidence and optimism. My first nurse manager in the ED was superb at this, especially during some very harrowing shifts.


So, in that spirit, I've made a list of people and things for which I'm grateful and that provide me with hope and optimism as we continue to navigate this time of uncertainty:


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who tirelessly strives to communicate the science of what we know about this new disease. The public health measures he has steadfastly recommended have proven to work in those areas that have enacted them. And other public health officials, from leaders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to state and local officials, who make difficult decisions based on science despite receiving death threats.


Nurses who used personal cell phones, iPads, whiteboards and intercoms, and even pad and paper to connect sick and dying patients with their families; and nurses and aides who stayed beyond their shifts to sit with patients to ensure they wouldn't die alone. Heroes all.


Nurse aides, respiratory therapists, physicians, dietary aides, housekeeping personnel, and others who were creative in devising workarounds to facilitate care, like punching holes in walls to run IV tubing outside patient rooms to minimize exposures and save personal protective equipment.


Nurses and physicians who traveled from other parts of the country to help overwhelmed facilities, giving hope to those in hard-hit areas and letting them know they were not alone.


Visiting nurses who are now faced with helping the "long haulers"-those who've had COVID-19 but are left with enduring aftereffects, forecasting a prolonged recovery. Our AARP-funded articles and videos to support family caregivers will be helpful (see this month's "Home Oxygen Therapy").


The scientists and executives at pharmaceutical companies who banded together to stand on science and promised only to release vaccines that were properly and thoroughly vetted.


Grocery clerks and cashiers and those in retail shops and restaurants who often incur the wrath of shoppers for insisting they follow public health recommendations like wearing a mask.


And I'd be remiss not to mention my team at AJN, who took on extra work, reshuffled schedules, and fast-tracked writing and editing to prepare evidence-based content on COVID-19.


I challenge you to come up with your own lists. It might be helpful to do with colleagues at work, to underscore all the good work you've done: the patients who did go home; the families you were able to connect with loved ones. The heartaches will inevitably come, so it's important that we celebrate the successes and keep faith that yes, we will prevail.