What. A. Year. 2020 Has been unlike anything we could have ever imagined in 2019. We came into 2020 feeling positive and encouraged about the planned global efforts to make 2020 the Year of the Nurse and focus on education, training, government and public policy, and citizen awareness about the shortages of nurses not only in our nation, but worldwide.
And while it has certainly been the Year of the Nurse in the way that nurses are literally saving the day everywhere as COVID-19 hotspots have popped up, it has also been a year of restriction, of self-sacrifice, of isolation, of longing, of fear, of anxiety, and may the list of adjectives and states of being go on.
Many of you are perhaps away from families and loved ones right now, working a travel nurse contract far from home. Odds are solid that you've been seriously busy when working, and are earning generous travel nursing salaries. But with a year so full of emotional angst, it may be hard to turn your thoughts toward giving thanks or being grateful right now.
What NursaTM is Thankful for this Year
So, we're here to let you guys off the hook. If you're struggling with feeling grateful right now. We get it. Chris Lowney, the author of "Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World)" wrote in his book the following,
"Gratitude is like cholera. Both are highly contagious, potent, and spread person to person."
If he had written that just this year, surely his metaphor would have referenced COVID instead of cholera, and aside from appreciating a little dry humor which makes us wonder if Mr Lowney has a medical background, it is a statement that can maybe help us all this Thanksgiving.
So, we've come up with some things that we're grateful for, and maybe they'll spread a little gratitude love your way.
1. We're Thankful for Our Nurses
Never in our agency's history have we ever been so grateful for our nurses as we have been this year. You have been so dedicated. Going where you are needed. Some of you have been helping out in more rural areas, others urban. You've been making connections with your temporary coworkers, helping to shoulder the burden in a time when the burden feels heavier than before. Some of you have even been part of our Emergency Response Initiative helping out in COVID hotspots across the country. Many of you are working more than 40 hours a week, picking up PRN shifts on your typical days off.
2. We're Thankful for Our Staff
NursaTM is not a one-man-show. It takes a team of people working together. All of who care about nursing, and who care about our nurses.
3. We're Thankful for PPE
Yes, there have been reports across the country about limited access to PPE supplies in some hospitals and sectors. But what there is, we are thankful for because PPE protects nurses everywhere, not just our own.
4. We're Thankful for CNAs & Other Clinicians
Taking care of patients in a hospital setting is all about teamwork. Our licensed RNs and LPNs could not go into various healthcare settings and perform their job duties if it weren't for the dedicated nursing assistants and other ancillary staff that work alongside them every day. All these clinicians come together to make it through - one PRN shift at a time.
5. We're Thankful for the eNLC
Not every state of the union is a part of the eNLC, yet. However, 34 states are active members while a few others are in the process of passing legislation to join. The eNLC has made it swifter for places in dire need of nurses to get short term nursing help swiftly for states within the nursing license compact agreement.
6. We're Thankful for Current Technology
Technology is helping public health officials track coronavirus cases, and is helping people be informed about the pandemic and their current level of risk in their communities. Moreover, smartphone application technology allows us to bridge the gap between hospitals and facilities who have staffing issues to nurses looking for work and willing and able to step in to work PRN shifts in real time.
Six items on a gratitude list may not seem like very many. However, they’re important and they remind us, as they can you, that even when things seem really hard, not everything is awful.
Hospitals Near You Have Critical Shortages and Need Your Skills
The federal government recently released data on hospitals nationwide reporting their staffing levels and other COVID-19 statistics. Over 1,000 hospitals now have reached or are nearing a critical level of staffing shortages. The worst is North Dakota, while there are seven other states that report more than 30% of their hospitals; New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
Every PRN shift that you are able to work in the aforementioned states or not, matters, enormously. Don't work yourself so hard that you have no time to rest. Be thoughtful about your week and pick PRN shifts that won't interfere with your ability to care for yourself.
Whether you pick up a PRN shift this Thanksgiving, or stay home and do a small gathering, or a virtual holiday celebration don't forget that while not everyone who is close to you may understand the risk you put yourselves in every single time you go to work, we do. We know the risk, we know you take it, and we are grateful and proud of you.