COVID reflections: Take a Moment
By Dr. Terry Shields, RN, PhD, on behalf of Hamilton Health Sciences board of directors.
On March 11, a year will have passed since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic for COVID-19. We all want this pandemic to be over, for life to get back to normal, or at least begin to understand what the new normal may look like.
It may take many more months for this to happen as vaccination efforts progress. During this time, we must not lose sight of the courage of all essential workers who continue to keep our community functioning during this unprecedented crisis. No single expression of thanks can ever be enough to match the sacrifices they have made this past year, and continue to make.
The Hamilton Health Sciences Board of Directors wishes to recognize and deeply thank every person who works on the community front lines, keeping people healthy, safe, nourished, moving, and hopeful. We thank the families who stand behind these individuals, because they too make difficult sacrifices in this regard. The significance of their contributions to the lives of many cannot be overstated.
Putting others ahead of yourself
During the course of the pandemic, essential workers endure health and emotional risks that others are more able to avoid. In doing so, they make a day-to-day life possible for all of us. These are the people who ensure access to health care, education, public services, groceries, medication, transportation, and so much more.
As a Board, we are very grateful for the dedication of this incredible workforce. During the pandemic, most aspects of hospital operations have become more complex and time consuming. It is a demanding professional environment.
Across Hamilton Health Sciences, our hospital’s nurses, physicians, clinicians, technicians, porters, environmental assistants and many others work shifts around the clock, every day of the last year to keep the hospital safe, clean and functioning. To do this, they have to leave their home, take time away from their family, travel to get to their workplace and suit-up in personal protective equipment. They stay informed of changing policies and processes. They often work extra hours to make this happen. They put patients’ and others’ needs ahead of their own.
They do all this knowing the risks they face, and with a degree of uncertainty about what each shift may bring and how those factors impact the emotional well-being of their teams, colleagues or themselves.
Where you stand during the most difficult times
It has been said that the ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand during the most difficult of times. The continued perseverance of all essential workers, despite the personal toll and a heightened risk of exposure to an unpredictable virus, demonstrates courage and responsibility that we should never take for granted.
The first wave of the pandemic has come and gone, and it looks like the second wave may be nearly behind us. We worry about the road ahead, and as we reflect on what may come next, let’s remain grateful to all those people who have given selflessly to maintain the services and supports we rely on most. Take a moment to thank them, whenever you can.