On the bright side

Stern explains how she is taking a nurses' approach to face the challenges of the pandemic.

First, I performed a nursing assessment of the current challenges facing nurses and myself:

  • the COVID-19 pandemic
  • multiple people facing multiple fears and challenges as a result of the pandemic
  • as a retired nurse practitioner and psychotherapist, with active credentials, I want to help in any ways possible, but at 66-years-old, having aged gracefully into the higher-risk group it's not smart or safe for me to gear up in full personal protective equipment to help on the front lines, even though my spirit is right there with all nursing colleagues. 

Next, I identified multiple nursing diagnoses:

  • risks of: powerlessness, impaired individual coping, impaired family coping, hope, stress overload, fear, infection, injury, social isolation, and/or spiritual distress
  • readiness for: enhanced knowledge, enhanced power, and/or enhanced resilience.

Then, I developed a nursing plan: 

  • research virtual means for me to help others during this pandemic, both as a nurse and as a citizen, to be a part of the solution from the safety of my home
  • contact the resources I've identified for details and sign-up for those that I will implement.

Finally, I began the implementation stage, and conducted evaluations of each plan implemented

  • performing frequent handwashing and lotioning to protect skin integrity
  • organized and scheduled a Zoom family/friends holiday gathering
  • social Distancing, not social isolation
  • enhancing my technological knowledge and skills for Zoom including taking live training classes to become a "Spiritual Companion," and learned a new platform, Microsoft Teams
  • receiving grocery deliveries vs in-store-shopping
  • created and facilitated a self-empowering anxiety busters workshop for congregants ta my house of worship and for others as requested
  • Maryland Food Bank donation
  • ongoing phone check-ins with family, friends, elderly neighbors, and congregants
  • increased frequency of personal laundry and housekeeping
  • support different local restaurants for carry-out weekly
  • support our housekeeper by paying her, even though she's not coming to our home to clean
  • shelter-in-place, even before there was a Maryland State Executive Order
  • volunteer with Red Cross facilitating virtual stress management workshops for staff, active duty military members, veterans, and their Families; and write and send individual thank-you notes to their essential personnel
  • researched the process and got my doctor's order and scheduled an appointment for a COVID-antibody test, which if positive, I'll donate my blood/plasma to hopefully help others. It's said that one donation provides enough plasma to potentially help three individuals.
  • remembering to continue practicing strong self-care habits
  • sending humorous memes and videos to family and friends to make them smile and laugh 

Stay safe and healthy, everyone. Remember, we're in this together and that's exactly how we're going to get out of this, together, with many lessons learned! 


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