1. Section Editor(s): Donnelly, Gloria F. PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP
  2. Editor in Chief

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken 3 million lives worldwide, the lives of more than 3000 health care workers, and has created unprecedented change in our day-to-day living.1 Eighteen months and counting-hunkered down at home, masked, even in the hallways of my building, restricted from using the gym, zoomed for my primary care checkup, canceled all physical therapy visits, avoided family gatherings at holidays, zoomed weekly to catch up with friends, and wildly anticipated my weekly trips to the supermarket. The pandemic has taught us the same lessons of previous pandemics. The health care system was unprepared. There were mixed messages, misinformation, and lack of coordination that rained down on all of us, but especially on those experiencing poverty and lack of access to care. As Snowden2 concluded in his epic work Epidemics and Society, we will continue to remain unprepared for pandemics so long as health is viewed as a commodity in the marketplace rather than a human right and so long as access to care is based on affordability. When will we, as a society and a health care system, finally "get it"? Will this pandemic spawn a resurgence and reorganization of the public health system including worldwide collaboration? Have we finally learned that resources long diverted from protecting the health of the public need to be reappropriated?

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Over the past months, I have focused on my own health behaviors, especially exercise and diet, and have tried to put my social isolation to good use. However, like many readers of this journal, I am one of the lucky ones. I have good health insurance, access to care, and a social support network that moved from in person to online. I am grateful for my situation-gratitude is so important in engendering compassion not only for those who directly experienced COVID-19 but also for nurses who struggled with the integration of work-life responsibilities during the pandemic.


Spring is about new beginnings, so desperately needed after more than a year of living in fear and isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacted a toll on those working in health care, with nearly 3000 deaths.1 Rates of anxiety and depression have risen dramatically among health professionals, as well as suicides. As I write this editorial, I am grateful to be anticipating my second dose of the vaccine and to know that many of my nurse colleagues have already been vaccinated. Now that the pandemic's end is in sight, it is time to look back, consider lessons learned-not only the scientific and societal lessons but also the personal ones. We need to be grateful that we made it through-this time!


-Gloria F. Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP


Editor in Chief




1. Jewett C, Lewis R, Bailey M. Lost on the Frontline. More than 2900 health care workers died this year-and the government barely kept track. KHN. The Kaiser Family Foundation Web site. Published December 23, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2021. [Context Link]


2. Snowden FM. Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 2019. [Context Link]