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COVID-19 PPE punches nurse’s spirit

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Nurses and other healthcare workers demonstrate against unsafe working conditions and inadequate COVID-19 PPE (personal protective equipment) outside the Rikers Island Correctional facility during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., May 7, 2020.

Across the U.S., coronavirus infection rates are surging, with no end in sight. If you’re a nurse, you may feel like you’re sinking. Sure, you soldier on, working long shifts, comforting desperately ill patients, grieving losses, and protecting yourself as best you can. But where available, all COVID-19 PPE in the world can’t protect a nurse’s spirit.

It’s that sense of purpose and meaning, of calling, that keeps nurses going in incredibly traumatic times. If they lose touch with that, they can quickly find themselves in deep trouble.

Yes to telemedcine, no don’t zoom a nurse touch

There are no easy solutions to what nurses are facing right now. But reconnecting to the sense of mission that has always driven nurses on a heart-and-soul level can give them the strength to keep going.

Nurses at the frontline in emergency wards or attending to critical ill patients in intensive units cannot “Zoom” their work. The “new norm” of working via video platforms that gives us all a new look into each other’s lives.

A relief for some, to connect and venture into the previously exclusive private lives of colleagues. I have witnessed the intriguing subtleties of co-workers’ lives, like their home decor and the inspiring quotes on their coffee mugs. And opportunity to say “hello” to curious cats that crawls in when a meeting is going on.

None of this is possible with nurses who are consumed attending to the coronavirus pandemic. I feel appreciative to individuals and organisations who have used creative ways to support medics working to keep us all safe.

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