With the whole world on its knees battling a pandemic, let us not forget the people that go unmentioned and who are at the forefront of this fight. Healthcare workers have taken a moral pledge to fight for our healthcare systems.
First, let us remember that healthcare workers are not just composed of doctors and registered nurses. I am a Registered Nurse, but I often get a little offended when I hear people and they forget about the technicians, all therapy staff, and the aides just to name a few. What about the Licensed Practical Nurses? What about educators? House supervisors? Housekeepers?
Also, let us recognize that using the term “healthcare worker” isn’t just to be used as propaganda or social shares. We are real people. We have lives and families too. Think about the things you may be going through as a result of this pandemic. Now put your thoughts on how a nurse’s aide or an x-ray technician handles the same thing, along with the stress coming from the decisions we must make because we chose this life of service; like whether or not personal protective equipment is available or was put on or taken off correctly or incorrectly, did we touch our face, or will we have to say hello to our kids by video only? Did we compromise giving our best care because we are in fear that we may be infecting our own selves? Do we even want to go into work because we know that it is so short staffed that we might second guess what we know best?
Receiving a “thank you” for our service is great, but do not forget that as healthcare workers, we must be friendly and approachable on both the good and the bad days, so do not take it personally when those words just aren’t enough. Take a moment, and think about if you had to make the same choice as many have had to do like living in a hotel for months, simply so we do not infect their loved ones.
We aren’t looking for credit. We have been the unsung heroes, feeling unappreciated and undervalued since we chose this profession.
Before you make choices to take a vacation, because you or your family “absolutely has to get out of the house,” just understand that healthcare workers’ lives and rest on hold as the call of duty comes first. Be compassionate knowing that this heroic gesture has sometimes proven detrimental to mental and psychological health.
So, the next time you are asked to put on a mask, or self-isolate, or you meet or even happen to pass by a healthcare worker, do not just blurt out, “thank you for your service or for being a nurse.” Take a moment to picture yourself living a day in the life of a healthcare worker. Be patient, compassionate, kind, and even share a smile… it will go a long way.