Nursing, Always a Rewarding Career, Evolves During COVID
April 30, 2020
Local Businesses Thank Visiting Nurses During National Nurses Month
On the frontline of a world health crisis, nursing professionals need our support now more than ever. Their skill and commitment during the coronavirus pandemic make a lifesaving difference every day. Nurses have played a major role in healing humanity—from war, disease, poverty, starvation. They continue to steadfastly do as they have always done—care for the ill, the injured, the infirm, the dying. The American Nursing Association has designated May as Nurses Month. May was selected as May 12 is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This recognition seeks to honor the individuals known as the heart of healthcare.
Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice (VNHCH) this month is celebrating their dedicated nursing staff, and has also been joined by local businesses, Sherman Farm, Flatbread Pizza, Fields of Ambrosia, McSherry’s Nursery and 302 Smokehouse, in providing gifts of thanks and recognition to these dedicated healthcare professionals.
“We wanted to do something for the visiting nurses,” shared Michelle Dutton of Sherman Farms of Fryeburg, Maine. “We considered donating meals but realized everyone has different preferences. So we decided to donate gift cards instead. That way they can pick up what they need.” Fields of Ambrosia donated gifts for gift bags. Flatbread Pizza is donating 30 pizzas to VNHCH, and 302 Smokehouse also gave gift cards.
Kelly Peckham, RN, Clinical Coordinator for VNHCH, expressed thanks to these businesses. “It’s nice to be appreciated and acknowledged by the businesses in town for what we do and for being out there through a pandemic. Our community needs visiting nurses and we will continue to be out there supporting our community. It’s good to be recognized for what our nurses are doing.”
Nursing, especially visiting nurses who are by definition working within the homes of their clients, has required a lot of change in the time of COVID19. Peckham explained, “We are doing, managing and handling a lot of what used to be face to face education and assessment over the phone. Instead of going into their house and asking if they have a cough or have pain, those questions and triaging is done over the phone now. There is a bit less physical contact as we want to maintain 6 feet of distance. Clients that need dressing changes, we obviously need to do that, but take extra precautions when in close proximity. For instance, clients with their own blood pressure cuffs can take their own blood pressure.”
Adaptations like this are making nursing care more comfortable in these times, for both the nurses and the clients. Peckham continued, “The clinical staff was understandably very nervous, but you don’t see as much of the fear about going into clients’ houses. We have developed new processes on how we are going to stay safe. I’m seeing more home visits being completed. I think also from a community standpoint, clients are more open to letting us in their homes since this all started. There’s been a shift. Our nurses are doing a great job educating our clients, telling them how we are keeping both them and ourselves safe, like disinfecting practices, use of PPEs and doing education over the phone so that we are not having to spend as much time in their homes.”
Despite all of the challenges, Peckham still believes nursing is an incredible career choice for today’s students. “I truly believe it is a rewarding career with many avenues to choose. If you are that caring personality and want to take care of people, if you want to fix situations, if you have an area that you are drawn to, there are so many areas of nursing. If you don’t find your passion at your first job, there is always a different nurse career path you can take – inpatient, home care, doctors office, psychiatric care.” She encourages new nursing students to not be scared off by the COVID pandemic.
Peckham is proud of the resolve that their nurses have shown in the face of the biggest health crisis in generations. “It shows strength that they are putting themselves out there. They may be hesitant one day but talk it through. We support each other, and it doesn’t stop them from doing what they love which is nursing care.”
For more information on VNHCH, visit them online at www.vnhch.org or call 603-356-7006.