Compassion, Expertise & Trust: The Year of the Nurse
By Melissa Callahan [AGPCNP-BC, APRN]
Corporate Director of Infectious Control & Corporate Director of Nursing at Retreat
Nurse expertise YOU need to know. Why COVID-19 is different than anything else we’ve ever seen
COVID-19 is a novel virus meaning it has never been present in humans before the end of 2019. So many details about this virus are unknown – all modes of transmission, length of time the virus lives on types of surfaces, symptom presentation by all patients, variable treatment options and outcomes, and long-term potential issues. The way in which we are managing and protecting patients, our nurses, and families are discovering day to day and week to week while facing an unprecedented number of fatalities. Nurses are on the frontline and leading the way in innovative thinking. Without their sacrifice and dedication, we would not be gaining the on-the-ground knowledge that we so desperately need in order to effectively combat this growing virus. However, I also encourage that our nurses must continue to advocate for protocols, policies, and procedures that protect their ethical obligations, as well as, ensure safety to all. Nurses’ roles are now more important than ever. With COVID-19, they are often the last source of compassion for patients and the last face they see as they suffer and, and in some cases die, without family or other outside contact.
Who can we trust? Good tools, resources, and approaches to staying informed on COVID-19
DO NOT RELY ON SOCIAL MEDIA. So long as the source of the content is science-based it should be a fairly reliable source. I personally recommend adhering to both the CDC and the Department of Health as they are excellent resources. Additionally, many universities and health systems are presenting excellent literature and health and scientific studies (i.e. Yale). Above all, work to rely on credible sources ONLY and avoid content that isn’t science-based. One of the surest ways to ensure that we combat this virus as a community is to remain informed on quality information and data.
Show your solidarity. How YOU can offer compassion and support to our frontline nurses
- Our healthcare system and society as a whole must support our nurses both ethically and emotionally.
- Hospitals, institutions, managers, administrators, and healthcare providers need to solidify employer and employee expectations.
- Foster quality communication.
- Foster an environment of safety and acceptance if a nurse voices a complaint/concern.
- Recognize burnout.
- Offer comprehensive mental health options that are easy to access and utilize.