Nurses need to support during the COVID-19 pandemic like anyone else. They probably need even more. We’ll tell you why and give you some ideas for ways to support nurses during a crisis.
Right now all across America (the world even), people are isolating themselves and practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus formally known al COVID-19. The hardest thing that most people have to do during this global pandemic is sit at home.
But not nurses.
The Struggle of COVID-19 for Nurses
Nurses have to get up every morning (or afternoon if they work nightshift) and prepare for the possibility that they will encounter a patient with a deadly virus.
The weird part is that they do this every day, but usually no one pays attention.
In times where the world is on watch, people suddenly become keenly aware of the risk that nurses take every day. They think about the care they provide to the most vulnerable and the support they provide their loved ones.
The difference between nurses and the rest of the world during a crisis like the Coronavirus is that nurses still go to work. Nurses are on the front line of the defense against this deadly disease. They still have to make the donuts.
Nurses are the players in the COVID-19 war games.
Nurses are Strong But Still Human
Make no mistake, nurses are incredibly resilient and strong, but they are still experiencing this crisis like everyone else. The major difference is for them it’s amplified.
While most people may wash their hands 5 or 10 times in a day, nurses are watching their hands 50-100. You think it gets annoying to sing happy birthday at the sink 5 times a day? What if you had to do it 100 times?
And that’s one of the most trivial things.
Nurses are wearing N95 masks and protective gear to care for patients with COVID-19. But they’re also caring for others equally sick with completely different diseases. All the while needing to use their brains, bodies, and spirits to make it through the day.
But it’s hard of them.
Everything is Amplified
Nurses work 12-hour shifts and are usually gone and away from their families for 14-15 hours a day for 3 to 4 days a week. When a medical crisis arises, they are often gone 16-17 hours a day for up to 7 days a week.
While you’re at home with your family, they’re spending almost no time with their family.
When they do get home, their children are asleep. They have to take a shower so hot it’s pretty much an autoclave, and are probably too tired to eat.
When they go to the grocery store and something is out they don’t have time to go to another store. They can’t order grocery deliveries because they won’t be home during the time frame available. And they’re working paycheck to paycheck to pay back their student loans so they can’t afford to buy groceries 3 weeks in advance.
Their children are home from school and all the daycares of closed. They have to scramble to find someone to care for their children and hope and pray that they will be kind and considerate as a substitute parent while they are out saving lives.
For nurses, everything in a crisis is amplified.
So How Can you Help Nurses During a Crisis
Helping nurses during a crisis can actually be pretty simple. Think of all the things you would do for someone when they have a new baby or if a loved one has passed. Any of the kind gestures you would share with a person during those moments are things that would be appreciated by a nurse working overtime and with sick patients.
Except don’t send flowers, that’s would be weird and wasteful.
Here is a detailed list of tasks that you can do to help a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Make a freezer meal
- Give them restaurant gift cards
- Send a deli tray
- Bake cookies
- Pay it forward for them at the Starbucks
- Send staples that you know are hard to find at the grocery store but are needed (beans, rice, pasta, canned soups, canned and frozen vegetables)
Assist with Chores
- Clean their house or maybe just their kitchen or another high-traffic area
- Mow their grass
- Pick up an extra pack of toilet paper and drop it off at their house
- Do a load of laundry (we understand if you don’t want to touch the scrubs, trust me, we don’t either)
- Clean their gutters
- Pressure wash their driveway
Entertain Their Kids So They Can…
- … go grocery shopping
- … take a shower
- … take a nap
- … cook dinner
Share these COVID-19 nurse discounts and freebies with them. Even if you aren’t able to do any of the above, making them aware of the many businesses that are offering them value during this difficult time is a nice gesture.
The List Goes On
There are so many ways that you can help reduce the stress in a nurses life during a crisis by just helping them do all the normal things that humans do when they aren’t working overtime or dealing with the stress of knowing they are the most likely population to catch this disease.
Get creative. There are no rules… well, other than the 6 feet rule, washing your hands, and the other ways to prevent Corona virus. Those are pretty solid.
NONE OF THESE ARE REQUIRED.
This isn’t a post meant to make anyone feel guilty or shameful that they aren’t out on the frontline dealing with this crisis. So many people want to know how they can be helpful to a nurse during this difficult time. So I wrote this so you can know exactly what is helpful to nurses who don’t have the luxury of staying home (and it is a luxury) with their families during this global pandemic.
If you know a nurse that’s working during this crisis, be kind and thoughtful. Share a smile and words of encouragement. Your emotional support and kindness are absolutely free and probably the most valuable thing you could give them.