It’s National Nurses Week: How to Help our Healthcare Heroes

By the Public Interest Registry Marketing Team

The late poet, Maya Angelou, said: “As nurses, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Nurses have always had the power to make patients feel, in a word, “better.” They may not be able to fix every ailment or save every patient, but nurses—through knowledge, expertise, compassion and care—are there for us when we are most vulnerable. This is our time to be there for them. And, it’s safe to say there has never been a National Nurses Week quite like this one.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created an exceptional time, requiring exceptional nurses. Nurses like Kathy Leong. According to an article about the outbreak in Seattle, veteran nurse Leong was informed by her supervisors that she needn’t report for duty during the pandemic, as she is 71 and at greater risk for serious complications. The 49-year medical-surgical nurse declined and has continued to show up each day to care for her patients, despite low supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and seemingly constantly shifting guidelines.

The worst part for Kathy, however, isn’t fear of contracting the virus. It the inability to hug a patient or grieving family member, due to social distancing. “I don’t like it,” said Leong. “But we do it. We do what we have to do.” Asked whether she regrets becoming a nurse since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Leong didn’t say “no.” She said: “Oh heavens, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are currently nearly three million registered nurses employed in the United States. That’s three million men and women, putting their lives on the line right now to care for us. How can we ever repay them? By supporting nurses’ efforts and ensuring they have the tools they need to sustain themselves, their families, and their patients.

One way to do this is through the American Nurses Foundation’s (nursingworld.org) Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses. This fund enables the public to support and thank nurses for their work on the front lines, addressing the identified and emerging needs of nurses as they battle this disease. The fund, which was kicked off with a $1.5 million grant from Johnson & Johnson, provides direct financial assistance and mental health support. In addition, it ensures that nurses have access to the latest scientifically based information to protect themselves, prevent infection, and care for those in need. The fund also advocates on the national level on behalf of nurses and patients.

Founded in 1955 as the research, education, and charitable affiliate of the American Nurses Association (ANA), ANF has fought tirelessly to advance the nursing profession through advances in research, education, and clinical practice to benefit our whole health care system. The foundation relies on individual, corporate, government agency, and private foundation support to “undertake potentially life-changing research, support nurses, and improve health care for all.”

PIR staff is jumping in and donating to these special people as part of our upcoming We Live For This campaign, a creative effort to support employee morale, well-being, and community engagement during this difficult time. While the campaign itself is new, helping the .ORG Community has always been important to PIR.

“Our team is – and has always been – deeply invested in ensuring that those making a positive impact within their communities have the support they need,” explains Mary Cornwell, PIR VP of Human Resources. “Now, more than ever, we – the people behind .ORG – are committed to helping those working on the front-lines of this crisis.”

Want more ways to help nurses during National Nurses Week? Direct nurses to low or no cost services donated by businesses in the community. Share the signs of burnout and depression, so nurses can recognize it within themselves and get proper treatment. And, diminish the overall burden by volunteering locally in whatever way you can. Through the ANF, you also can honor a nurse, by making a donation to express your gratitude to a special nurse in your life.

Happy National Nurses Week to all the nurses. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you do.