World Health Day: Celebrating our Healthcare WorkersApril 7, 2020
Since its inception in 1950, April 7 has been designated as World Health Day. This day is to bring awareness to a priority of concern designated by the World Health Organization. In the past, the health themes highlighted have included mental health awareness and climate change. For 2020, the World Health Organization is highlighting the important role that nurses and midwives play in the healthcare system.
By Caroline Farhat
The essential role that nurses play in the healthcare system couldn’t be more true than today, during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Nurses, and all medical professionals, are on the front line fighting the unprecedented novel virus. Medical professionals are describing war-like conditions where they do not have enough supplies to treat the number of patients they encounter. Their experiences during this pandemic have pushed them to go above and beyond the call of duty and, at ELFI, we are incredibly grateful for their selfless bravery.
Stories of heroism emerge daily of nurses and doctors during this pandemic. Here are just some of the stories of these heroic medical professionals:
- A father in Arkansas, who is a resident physician, has quarantined himself away from his family in an effort to protect them from potentially contracting coronavirus. He works in different departments of the hospital, including the emergency room, where he encounters potential COVID-19 patients. The doctor saw his son, through a glass door, crawl for the first time. Missing out on special family milestones is one way medical professionals are going beyond the call of duty to protect their family and still help others.
- A registered nurse who works in the intensive care unit of a California hospital caring for patients with COVID-19 keeps a positive outlook for her patients. She tells her patients they are not alone because she is by their side. In addition, she helps her patients have FaceTime calls with their loved ones since they are not allowed to have visitors. This one act may seem small, but can mean the world to the patient and their loved one.
- A retired emergency room nurse, age 68, felt the push to get back to work when the pandemic arose. She said she was hearing from previous co-workers how they were feeling overwhelmed and the terrible conditions they had to deal with. Many use the same mask for days at a time until the masks deteriorate because there is a supply shortage. Even with all of this information, the retired nurse volunteered to help. She knew she was in a higher risk class due to her age so she was assigned to a call center. There, she is able to help physicians and patients with any questions they have. She said although she would like to be able to help in the ER, she feels this is one way she is able to contribute. Like her, many nurses and physicians have come out of retirement to help where needed. This dedication to the medical profession is appreciated now more than ever.
- An emergency room physician in California says they feel scared and tired because they understand they are exposing themselves to the virus and risking their lives, but the community support they feel is touching. He says now more than ever they take more precautions to protect themselves when seeing patients, and some of the gear they wear makes it harder to interact with the patients. He skips his lunch to be able to spend more time with patients to provide them comfort and support.
The selflessness of these medical professionals has inspired the generosity of others to help these heroes.
- Across the country, there are restaurants donating food for healthcare workers in the hospitals. Restaurant owners, who are feeling the pinch of inside dining being banned in many places, have turned to donating meals to hospitals. These meals go to feed the workers who may not have time to stop and prepare a meal for themselves due to the overwhelming amount of patients they are helping.
- There are average citizens raising money to be able to buy food for doctors and nurses in the emergency rooms and ICUs of hospitals with positive coronavirus patients. There are also funds that have been set up in cities across the country, including Houston and Pittsburgh, to purchase meals from local restaurants and donate the meals to healthcare workers.
- There are distilleries across America that have halted their normal production of spirits to make hand sanitizer. Distilleries from Anheuser-Busch to local distillers in 20 states are making hand sanitizer. Some are providing the sanitizer to consumers and others are donating to healthcare workers in the most needed areas.
- People are sewing face masks to donate to hospitals that have a shortage of supplies. Even retail giant JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores released a tutorial on how to make a mask. They are collecting donations of handmade masks with a goal of donating 100 million masks to medical personnel.
During this stressful time, businesses are honoring the frontline heroes to try to alleviate any stress.
- Delta and JetBlue airlines are offering free flights to medical professionals who are traveling to hardest-hit areas to help with the fight against the virus.
- Airbnb is offering free or reduced housing for 100,000 medical professionals in an attempt to provide housing closer to where they work and isolated from any family members.
- To help alleviate any stress regarding student loans, federal student loan payments and interest have been suspended through September 30, 2020. If you have private student loans, student loan refinancing may be the key to help reduce your payments.
- Some restaurants are providing free food or beverage items for medical professionals:
- Krispy Kreme is offering free donuts through May 12
- Starbucks is offering free coffee through May 3
To the medical professionals: we appreciate the hard work and dedication you are displaying during this unprecedented time. With your unwavering spirit to continue the fight and help as many patients as you can, you have inspired a nation. You are among the heroes that we honor on this World Health Day.
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