I am not on the frontlines. Even the clinic where I work just once each month has been closed except for phone consults and medication refills. But I get it. You – on the frontlines, no matter the setting – are facing something more intense than you have ever faced, and you have faced some heavy stuff. I see my friends separating from their families. I see my mentors and orientees from my days in the unit spearheading their COVID-19 units. I see my husband returning to the ICU as a respiratory therapist working long shifts, much different from his Monday-Friday days in the clinic. For all these personal connections and for all of you, my heart is full of pride.
As I continue to work with our team here on NursingCenter to develop and bring you news, content and practice updates, my thoughts often return to my own days at the bedside in acute care and then quickly turn to all of you. Here are just a few of the things that regularly cross my mind.
- Caring for COVID-19 patients must take a team approach. We really are all in this together and all members of the healthcare team – physicians at every level, medical students, unit secretaries, respiratory therapists, certified nursing assistants, dietary, nutrition, pharmacy, physical therapists, laboratory, radiology, housekeeping, all support staff – have an important role. Are you finding this to be truer now?
- We are learning new things about transmission, incubation, spread, prevention, and treatment every day. Are you open to changes in practice, trying new things, and realizing that what works for one patient might not work for the next? How are you staying informed and up to date?
- Everyone is stressed, tired, and scared but only your fellow clinicians know the battles you are facing in your unit. Are you in a supportive environment? Are you practicing self-care? (Here’s some great advice from AJN’s Off the Charts blog, Practicing the ABCDEs of Self-Care in Pandemic Times.)
- Do you remember why you became a nurse? Please know that you are strong, and you are making a difference. Be proud of who you are and what you do.
- Are you celebrating the successes? Have you seen the photos on social media of whiteboards or bulletin boards keeping track of each extubation, each discharge, each save…?
- Do you have time to grieve and are you sharing in your grief? I worry about the mental toll this pandemic is taking on you all. Lean on each other and share your grief. Being a nurse can take an emotional toll on any given shift, let alone during a pandemic.
I am reading your stories and seeing your photos. Please keep sharing them. I couldn’t be prouder to be a nurse and I couldn’t be prouder of you.