I wish this crisis was not happening. It hurts to be far from my own family, and that's something I have in common now with my patients. My sister sent a text last week: "Healthcare workers are The Wolf!" (Referencing Harvey Keitel's character in "Pulp Fiction" who is the last line of defense when John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson find themselves in a world of trouble. "That's 30 minutes away. I'll be there in 10" says The Wolf.)
That's how we roll as nurses. One co-worker wheels the bedside computer up to his ICU patient's bed and Zooms family into the room for a visit. Laughter and connection where there was silence and fear. Another pulls together best practices learned on the fly in one unit to share with another just getting its first COVID patients. My unit manager taking time each evening for video open forum with the staff. Nurses stepping up to cross-train in new roles. Nurses from the bedside lending their voice to workgroups tasked with everything from PPE guidelines to surge preparation to promoting staff well-being. Nurses teaching physicians and environmental services staff how to don and doff PPE. Sharing tears when we need to just let it out.
In the news stories, there is only the narrative of how powerless and traumatized we are. There is truth to that, and our communities and organizations will need to think hard about how to reach out to the clinicians, patients, and families injured by their experiences. Our story of how we rose to meet this challenge needs telling. "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it" said Helen Keller. "That's 30 minutes away. I'll be there in 10" say nurses.
What are you seeing in your co-workers, in yourself, that inspires, that teaches?