Healthcare workers deserve enormous gratitude in unprecedented time

By Bea Grause, RN, JD | March 20, 2020

I saw a lot during my 10 years working as a nurse in an emergency department.

I saw quick thinking save lives, heroic acts lead to happy outcomes and, despite seeing much heartbreak, I saw even more that inspired me.

Today, with COVID-19, we are facing a public health emergency unlike any we’ve seen before in our lifetimes.

New York’s hospitals and health systems are tackling this pandemic with incredible urgency. Many are already experiencing surges of patients; all are working around the clock to get the staff, supplies and spaces needed to care for COVID-19 patients while protecting the health of their workers. Continued state and federal support will be essential in the weeks and months ahead.

We need the public’s help to slow the spread of the virus. We must minimize the number of people who will require hospitalization. Please wash your hands frequently, stay home when you can and stay six feet away from others if you must go out. If you are worried you have COVID-19 or have been exposed, remember the following:

• contact your doctor or local health department to get direction about what you should do;
• telemedicine is a great way to speak to a provider without leaving your house; and
• mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 do not require hospital care and can be managed at home.

By following the guidance above, you can help preserve hospital resources for those who are critically ill or most at risk.

There is no doubt that the weeks ahead will be challenging, and we owe enormous gratitude to the healthcare workers on the front lines. We’re already seeing their unwavering commitment to their patients and communities save lives. They are, without a doubt, heroes. The best way we can support them right now is for each one of us to do our part by slowing the spread of this virus.

Bea Grause is President of the Healthcare Association of New York State.