MURRAY  There is a week each year that the nation takes to celebrate and recognize the incredible work of our nurses. Though a week is far too short to pay homage to the incredible work they do every day, Murray-Calloway County Hospital is excited to celebrate National Nurses Week May 6-12.

We all remember this time last year quite vividly. We paid close attention to the news and our healthcare organizations as we watched for more information in a time of such uncertainty. Last year, we were unable to celebrate Nurses Week with the sweet treats and group celebrations like we wanted to. Instead, our nurses were faced with difficult circumstances, some with even longer hours and, often times, tears and group air hugs for comfort.

During the past year, we faced challenges affecting our personal lives we’ve never encountered before: supply shortages in grocery stores, closures of favorite restaurants, limited access to services we took for granted, remote and hybrid schooling for grades K- 12 and constraints on family gatherings. There were also restrictions imposed on domestic and international travel. Nurses Week is a time to pause and reflect on the lived experiences of nurses.

 

Rising to the challenge

At work, nurses encountered limitations on supplies. Personal protective equipment became a scarce commodity. The level of care increased to address preventive measures. Patients testing positive for COVID-19 needed higher levels of treatment and interventions from multiple professionals. Plus, restrictions were placed on visitors. No visitors for patients and residents required virtual electronic visits adding to a nurse’s responsibilities. During end-of-life care, nurses became the patient care provider and family support for patients and their loved ones. Many healthcare workers self-isolated from their families to prevent exposing loved ones to the virus.

Miraculously, nurses rose to the challenge. Nurses demonstrated flexibility to adapt and overcome these hurdles. Screening and testing for the virus became a new standard. Appointments for healthcare transitioned from office appointments to telehealth engagements. Triage nurses became skilled at screening care needs and promoting technology. Family visits became scheduled times with iPads and cellphones. Cleaning and disinfecting were taken to a whole new level. Additional precautions were implemented to halt the spread of the virus.

MCCH Nurses will be recognized in 2021 with a luncheon, scrub sale and chair massages, as well as a gift to show appreciation for the dedication to our patients and families.