Pandemic Work

Don’t know which week of “Sheltering in Place” you are entering but I am starting my fourth. 40 years of nursing and the only time I have ever been out of work this long was when my daughter was born. So this feels weird.

Three weeks at home is a lot of time for thinking. Also a lot of time to observe from a distance what other people are saying, doing, not saying, and not doing.

What I observe is the world being educated on viruses, focusing on interactions with viruses, and a lot of arguing about the first two.

I also observe human creativity, community strength, and the placement of healthcare workers on pedestals.

The first two I applaud, the last makes me feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because healthcare workers have always been unsung “heroes”. We feel called to do our work not out of the need to make a lot of money but to teach others how to reach for health. But praising healthcare workers publicly is excellent for morale.

Each day we go to work not knowing what pathogen we will encounter. Pathogens are invisible and don’t smell; making their way into the body with ease if we are not doing our hand hygiene, sterile technique, and precautions every time, every patient, every room, every day, every month, every year, year in and year out.

All healthcare providers are advocates for infection prevention and control because they know so much more about the WHY of doing it than any other people on the planet.

I have been monitoring my social media apps. I take any chance I see to clarify thinking about social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, covering a cough, and disinfecting surfaces.

I think as healthcare providers we can reach out and keep our communities clear on the basic care we all need to do during a pandemic.

After all, this is just a practice run for the big one.

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