Nurse Healthcare Workers – Thank you!
Inspired by the strength of nurses around the world and driven by the desire to offer support, the inaugural cohort of the Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellowship came together to pen a letter to their colleagues on the frontlines of COVID-19.
To Our Fellow Nurse Healthcare Heroes,
At this very moment, the world is watching in awe as nurses are in the spotlight on the frontlines of an epidemic that poses more questions than there are answers. As we did during Ebola, Zika, AIDS and countless other outbreaks, nurses are answering the call to care for COVID-19 positive patients, often in spite of a dangerous scarcity of essential personal protective equipment. Today, nurses are battling many unknowns, seeing an unprecedented volume of patients, and risking exposure for ourselves and our families. Tomorrow, nurses will face new challenges, at times pushing ourselves beyond our areas of clinical expertise, while contending with increased pressures and dwindling protective inventory and supplies.
Despite the risks and unknowns, one thing is for certain: Nurses always show up to help provide safe, timely, effective and equitable healthcare. That is our legacy, our privilege, our honor. Now with the eyes of the world upon us, we have the opportunity for a defining moment, where we demonstrate the power and impact we have – at the bedside and beyond.
Now is the time to raise our voice. Working in close proximity with patients, we see what others don’t and that perspective is valuable and vital. We must all work to be included in the conversations around solutions and responses to COVID-19. Many of our colleagues are currently MacGyvering solutions – like retrofitting goggles, facemasks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) – and at the same time, keeping up with quickly-moving guidance. While not all heroes wear capes, nurses should wear PPE, such as masks, gowns, gloves, and goggles. Together we can use our voices to advocate for the profession to provide the best care for patients.
Show the world how we lead, innovate and support each other. Nurses and other frontline heroes have been rallying together by calling for donations of PPE and blood. Grassroots movements such as Strengthen Healthcare Ability to Respond to Emergencies or SHARE, spearheaded by the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, & Leaders (SONSIEL), are bringing more attention to the fact that healthcare workers cannot do this alone. This is a global fight, and our moment to show the world how we can come together to help support the greater good is now.
Even though many of the world’s daily operations are on pause, our work and ideas are not. We can leverage this moment to boldly pursue ideas that can improve patient care and care delivery. The systems that may have prevented us from being innovative are now dependent on it. We can amplify our ideas, expand our areas of expertise, and showcase our talents and innovation without pause.
We must take time to take care of ourselves. The challenges in the coming weeks are likely to intensify, and the uncertainty of this reality is sure to bring on added stresses. Many of us are exhausted and overwhelmed, and you may be as well. Be kind to yourself and generous with getting the rest you and your teams need. Continue to have grace with others and infect the world with a positive spirit.
We are twelve nurses who have come together as the inaugural cohort of the Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellowship with professionally diverse backgrounds spanning the ICU, ambulatory care, correctional facilities, mental health, entrepreneurship, academia and more. We know first-hand the impact you’re having on health, because we are working alongside you.
We believe that future generations of nurses will learn about how our profession led in this moment, sparking ideas born from necessity and impacting entire health systems and communities. This is already a defining moment for nurses. Let it also be one that helps the world see the profession the way we all do.