|You might have heard someone say words to the effect that a person who refused to get vaccinated and then got sick with covid should receive a lower level of care in the hospital. I will tell you why that will never happen.|
The compassion of a nurse is an earthly embodiment of grace. It is not something that must be earned, and it is not something that can be lost.
The nurse cares equally for the lung cancer patient who brought on the disease by smoking, the head injury patient who was not wearing a motorcycle helmet, and the drunk driver who plowed a car into a tree. The nurse gives the same care to a patient in chains and a prison jumpsuit as a big shot in the VIP room at the end of the hallway. The nurse cares for a covid patient who called it a Chinese hoax, refused to wear a mask, and took horse pills rather than get a vaccination with that same compassion.
In the foreword to the special pandemic edition of my book The Florence Prescription I wrote: “The light from Florence’s lamp has shone brightly upon nurses who helped dying patients say goodbye to family members on electronic tablets; on environmental services workers who cleaned hospital rooms after covid patients were discharged; on long-term care workers who comforted lonely elders who could not see visitors; and the millions of other healthcare workers who have met this challenge with commitment, courage, and resilience.”
Caregivers have given everything they have and then given more to care for the victims of this pandemic. It is heartbreaking to hear of stories of nurses being verbally or physically assaulted in emergency rooms, threatened with violence when they volunteer to administer covid vaccines, and treated with hateful disrespect in public places just because they are wearing scrubs and a name tag.
But there is one thing those who disrespect, bully, and threaten nurses can always depend upon. When they show up at the hospital desperately ill from covid, their nurses will still treat them with respect and compassion.
That’s what nurses do. That’s who they are.
Earlier this week the American Nurses Association sent a powerfully worded letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services asking that the Biden Administration “declare a national nurse staffing crisis and take immediate steps to develop and implement both short- and long-term solutions.”
Also earlier this week, Becker’s Healthcare recently asked frontline nurses from 7 different hospitals what one word they would use to describe this latest covid surge. These were their words: defeated, heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, humbling, exhausting, frustrating, and (again) heartbreaking.
Every year since my first hospital job in 1973, I’ve seen headlines about “the healthcare crisis.” This is the first time I have felt the term to be warranted. If we don’t take this crisis seriously – very seriously – there is a very real risk that the system will be overwhelmed, as is already happening in many places.
You will hear more about this in the coming months, but Values Coach is partnering with the Association of California Nurse Leaders and other organizations to pivot The Pickle Challenge for Charity to raise awareness and money to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our caregivers.
If you haven’t already, please check out the free eBook Stay Strong For Us (it’s also available in hard copy on Amazon) and share it with the people you work with. You can open that book to any page and find a message of hope, inspiration, and resilience. When we published it at the beginning of this year, I was hoping that it would have a short shelf life. Alas, with the latest covid surge, the message is even more important now than it was then.
Everyday Courage for Extraordinary Times features 21 short videos, 12 eBooks, Leader’s Guide and Participant Study Guide. The course is incredibly affordable, easy to implement, tailored to your organization, and absolutely guaranteed to be effective.
Learn more by visiting the Values Coach website, emailing me, or by calling our office at 319-624-3889.