Shedding light over darkness

Submitted by Mcgill University Nursing BNI
September 8, 2020

Throughout the progression of this pandemic, many of our lifestyles have changed in terms of agency and freedom. The measures put in place by the government aimed to “flatten the curve” in order to minimize the spread of COVID 19. As a healthcare worker employed by the Shriners hospitals for children in Canada, measures were put in place in our hospital as well. For instance, patients were accompanied by only 1 legal guardian without the possibility of alternating between another guardian. In addition, the legal guardian was not allowed to leave the room during the patient’s hospitalization. At the Shriners, certain surgeries require patients to be hospitalized for up to 6 weeks, meaning that the patient and parent would be confined to their room until discharge. As much as the measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID 19 are legitimate, the impact on an individual’s mental health is real. Imposing complete social isolation goes against the essence of human nature, where humans thrive by exchanging, sharing, and caring for one another. That being said, I believe I was able to make a difference in the lives of some families as I was able to alleviate some anxiety regarding the confinement. If a parent craved some sushi on a Saturday evening where the unit is not busy, I would offer to go grab the sushi for them. If a patient really missed a family member, I would encourage them to video-call them and would stream it on the TV so their faces would be bigger. I think healthcare workers, especially nurses, have a responsibility to adapt to hardships and provide family-centered care regardless of the challenges put upon them. Ultimately, acts of kindness during this pandemic is what fosters feelings of hope and happiness. Along the lines of the “Ca va bien aller” movement, i think we must continue to raise awareness about COVID 19 and its prevention, yet we also have to provide reassurance, kindness, and accommodation to families and the patients.