In my 40 years as a registered nurse, nothing compares to what has transpired in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic.
From community shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders to toilet paper shortages and the shift to virtual learning for our children, to say we have all experienced change seems like a huge understatement. When word of the virus first came to us in January, no one could imagine how different things would look by October. And yet, here we are.
As a healthcare leader in our community, you are probably expecting an article that emphasizes the importance of washing your hands, wearing a mask and maintaining a 6-foot social distance at the grocery store. And all of that is important, especially as we enter the flu season. However, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the positive things I have seen come out of this experience.
The first is Love. There has been a tremendous amount of love shown to our team members over the last several months. I cannot express the gratitude we at AdventHealth have for all the acts of kindness we experienced. Restaurants donating meals, churches coming together to pray on our behalf and community members making masks are just some of the outreach received, and it was greatly appreciated. Caring for you, our community, is a calling for us, not just something we do for a paycheck. It is our passion. But, to receive love and support the way we did is truly a blessing.
The second positive thing I have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of our healthcare team to adapt and change quickly to ensure our patients are receiving the best possible care, not just clinically, Like other hospitals in our area, AdventHealth had to close our doors to visitors in March, leaving many of our patients feeling alone and isolated. Knowing the dangerous effects this can have on the healing process, our team came up with innovative ways to help our patients connect with their loved ones. Whether it was helping a grandma meet her grandchild through a window or connecting a patient with their family through a video call, we did our best to help our patients stay connected to those they love. The power of connecting with each other as humans is something our staff understands, and it is nothing short of miraculous to see how much a person can be healed by emotional and spiritual strength when combined with modern medicine, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
Another innovation that has been a positive change is the ability to offer virtual visits. While I recognize that these do not replace the need for in-person care, it does help us connect with those who need care in a way that is easy and convenient for the patient.
Finally, COVID-19 has brought forward a new appreciation for each other. As we have slowly moved towards getting back to normal, I can’t help but notice the look of pure joy on people’s faces when they can reconnect with a friend, co-worker or loved one in person. I know it was something I took for granted until my world went completely virtual. Now, I look forward to the day when I can meet with my colleagues in person and feel the energy in the room as we discuss an idea or catch up on the lives of our kids and grandkids.