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Conquering Covid Through Connection

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Nurses have a unique ability to connect with people. Through these individual connections we can dispel the myths and disunity that contribute to the pandemic.

by Goldie Goldie (New)

Has 29 years experience.

Nurses Connecting to Dispel COVID Myths and Disunity

Conquering Covid Through Connection

Connecting with Patients

I love being a nurse.  One of the great things about our job is the ability to connect with someone on a deeper, more intimate level than we normally do.  Our patients or clients, whether sick or well, are in a more vulnerable position when in the healthcare setting. They rely upon nurses, one of the most trusted professions *, to soothe their fears, explain things in language they understand, and be their ally as they walk their healthcare journey.  We help new overwhelmed parents learn to care for their newborn, how to breastfeed through pain and uncertainty.  We help our cancer patients through what might be the most challenging fight of their lives.  We sit with our dying patients and soothe their last moments.

Using Our Superpower

It is these connections that will allow nurses to stem the Covid tide.  It is easy to feel separate from our communities if we feel “they just don’t get it”, or “they don’t know what it’s like”.  We are upset at their innocence but forget we have a superpower—our ability to connect with other humans. How often have you held the hand of someone who hates getting blood drawn, and helped them through it?  How many times have you translated a scary diagnosis for your patient who was terrified, and eased their fears?  Our ability to meet someone where they are, and build bridges, will help us communicate truth about this virus, the vaccine, and how masks and social distancing can help us get through it.

Telling Our Stories

We need to tell our stories, whenever, wherever.  To our families, to our friends, to the schools, at the dog park.  Tell the stories of your patients, your coworkers, yourself.  Rally their support for you, their community hospital, their clinic.  Make them see what you see, every day. Don’t whine, however, that you are a Peds nurse who was floated to Med-Surg.  They won’t get it.  Tell them, instead, that the care of those patients was probably not as good as a Med-Surg nurse could provide.  Listen to them complain about their surgery postponement, then tell them they might be lucky, as they may have an OB nurse caring for their surgical wound and will get discharged before they’re ready, because we need their bed.  Tell them about the cars outside your ER with patients waiting to be seen.  Tell them what Crisis Care really means to their families.  Tell them about how your unit only had half the nurses it needs to run smoothly last night.  How was care affected?

This is not normal hospital care.  We are not in normal times.  It won’t be normal until we all make connections, until we all rally together against our common enemy.  This killer doesn’t care who you voted for or what flag you fly.  We are all up against the same enemy.  We need our nurses, who excel at connections, to help rally the troops.

Outside hospitals often need to transfer pregnant patients to high risk providers, because we have a NICU.  Preterm moms with Covid sometimes get better if we deliver their babies, no matter how preterm.  In my career experience, most parents would prefer not to have a premature baby.  They especially would not want to be intubated in the ICU while their baby is alone in the NICU.  No one in the family can visit or hold the baby because they are all in isolation for Covid.  This is the story I told at my dog park.  Everyone got a bit quiet, and I made a little joke about it being my soapbox.  In the end, I feel it was worth it.  Maybe I could convince someone whose best friend is pregnant and avoiding the vaccine until after she delivers.  Maybe one less mother would be at risk from severe disease. 

Nurses are seen as trusted healthcare experts.  What if we could make our clinical expertise part of the discussions at church, school, and our partners’ workplaces? 

Yes, we are tired.  We’ve never been challenged with working from home, because that has never been an option.  We are tired and discouraged that no one is listening.  Maybe we aren’t telling the right stories.  Maybe we need to create a connection—ONE—that wasn’t there before.  We’re good at that because we’re nurses.

The author loves working with people of all walks of life from all over the world, and is grateful for her career in healthcare.

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3 Comment(s)

NurseDebdeb

Specializes in OBGYN. Has 32 years experience.

Spot on! Connection on a deeper level is one of the privileges of nursing.  I think telling our stories is key in dispelling some of the misinformation out there.  HIPAA makes sharing trickier, but sometimes if the rest of the world could really see and know what we know, our stories might make a difference for someone else. 

Thanks for rallying the troops with your well written connection. 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Connection on all levels is so important. If I can do so with ONE person, I consider my day good.

Great article.

RNwrites Health, ADN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Critical Care/Vascular Access. Has 15 years experience.

Well stated @Goldie! I agree with you that the connections we make as nurses and the stories we tell CAN make a difference. It all depends on as you said "meeting someone where they are."