I feel this note should be titled “welfare check”. How are the heroes? Tired. Weary. Worn out. These are all words that jump to mind. The dictionary defines a hero as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. I think in review of this pandemic that the dictionary will add nurse to the definition.
Have you received your vaccine? That’s the new question for all your family and friends who know you’re an emergency department nurse. I have received both doses of mine with no residual effects to date. I have heard of others who had post vaccine issues ranging from injection site pain to side effects keeping them off work for 24 hours. Scroll your social media account and everyone you know has a story.
I am no expert nor am I a scientist. My desire is to share my own story and “why”.
If I am being completely honest, reluctant was my initial response to the vaccine. I am not immediately trusting, no emergency nurse is, right? It’s our job to make quick judgment based on what is immediately in front of us. I couldn’t understand why all the doctors were immediately saying yes and nurses saying no to receive the vaccine. It had to be the science.
I had to educate myself and make my own decision as do each of you.
My first concern was how did we get a vaccine so quickly when the treatment recommendations keep changing. The administrative and financial barriers are the rate limiting steps for vaccine production. The government removed these barriers due to the urgent need. The science was already in place. My next question was about messenger RNA. I had to google myself back to basic biology. The best explanation is the vaccine is like an email to your body on how to fight acting like a snap chat message that disappears.
Knowledge that the vaccine doesn’t stop you from getting COVID19 however it is a tool in defense. Example- I am a person with multiple co-morbidity and I received the vaccine, later contracted the virus my symptoms would be less severe and not require hospitalizations. This friends is how we help ease the burden for the weary workers.
I feel now more than ever nurses are recognized and trusted by the public. Now is the time to live by example, wear your mask, practice social distancing, get your vaccine, encourage your co-worker to get their vaccine. Educate the general population to also get their vaccines. I respectfully ask each of you to be role models and do what we can to stop this evil virus.
In closing, take care of yourselves and take care of each other. We are in this together.
I will leave you with this challenge: do something intentionally to support your fellow nurses...send them a card, maybe door dash dinner to them if they are off with COVID or on quarantine. Please contact myself or a member on the AL-ENA leadership team should you need to refer a peer for support.