Nurses Need Your Support As COVID Hits Another Wave
When COVID-19 really hit the U.S. consciousness in March, the nation watched sympathetically as New York struggled. We were horrified as body bogs bags piled up. Video diaries made us feel the anxiety, sadness and exhaustion health care workers endured. We bore witness as they put on their best faces to care for the sick, as they trenched through long hours with little protection and no time to mourn.
But a lot has changed in seven months.
The pandemic that’s swept the world and killed 220,944 people on a global scale as of Tuesday evening has become a political talking point — it’s very existence and dangers are swept aside by us versus them rhetoric. Medical professionals we sang to and honored for their brave sacrifices are now dismissed and discounted — their experiences represent a truth some, many, aren’t willing to cop to. But reality is the only thing those nurses and health care professionals can rely on and respond to.
In truth, and according to John Hopkins University’s unadulterated and unbiased tracking, about half of the nation’s states are seeing a small-to-severe spike in COVID-19 cases. Hospitals in North Dakota are reporting shortages of staffed ICU beds due to record numbers of new cases. North Dakota is not alone — Wisconsin, Illinois, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico and Tennessee are reflecting dangerous trajectories, especially at this stage in the virus development and proximity to the traditional flu season.
As we feared, rural communities are getting a late start on their first substantial waves, and they’re sorely underprepared to handle the load. To make matters worse, nurses who were not long ago held up like firefighters are now ridiculed if they speak truth about their days and the current situation.
These women and men stand by our sides when our families cannot. They change our pans, adjust our meds and move us in our beds to avoid sores. They choose to spend the time with our sick loved ones that could be spent with their own families, and they risk their lives to do so.
What are we giving them in return?
On an individual level, the very least we can do is to wear a damn mask. It may not be the perfect form of protection, but it’s something we can do without thinking much about.
But what else can we do to help nurses and others on the front medical line?
Sometimes, just a little support goes a long way. If you think they haven’t noticed the drop-off of appreciation lately, you’re wrong. The #ThankYouNurses hashtag is trending — you can use that to send a few kind, encouraging words or describe how a nurse has impacted your life in a good way.
You can also give in a more tangible way.
The American Nurses Foundation and partners have established a fund you can contribute to by visiting nursingworld.org. According to organization site, money you donate there will be used to:
- Support the mental health of nurses – today and in the future
- Ensure nurses everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection, and care for those in need
- Drive the national advocacy focused on nurses and patients
- Provide direct financial assistance to nurses
We know student debt adds far too much stress to nursing life but we have not identified a good way to contribute to that relief. If you know of a reputable service that helps reduce student debt for nurses, please contact us so we can share that information.