Many healthcare workers (and others) are feeling increased levels of stress amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. During this challenging time, it is more important than ever to support nurses however we can.
Fortunately, with all the destruction that COVID-19 has left in its wake, the virus is also showing us how supportive our communities can be in times of darkness.
On John Krasinski’s digital show, Some Good News, he announced that the Red Sox had donated four tickets to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Fenway for life. Another selfless person bought nurses gas for a week. We are witnessing human kindness like never before.
Nurses go to work for us, and in return, they ask that others stay home for them. And there are so additional many positive ways to support our nurses.
16 ways to support nurses during COVID-19
1. Give gratitude with ‘Operation Thank A Nurse‘
Pamela Nye, a retired Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), started ‘Operation Thank A Nurse‘ because she wanted more nurses to hear the word “thank you” for their service.
“Nurses truly are the everyday unsung, boots-on-the-ground, frontline combatants,” she says.
Per Nye’s GoFundMe website, “100% of net revenue goes towards the existing Pamela Jane Nye Nursing Scholarship Fund for advanced nursing education administered by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Donor-Advised Fund (DAF).”
2. Tell a nurse about the retail stores that support nurses by dedicating shopping hours for healthcare professionals
Many retail companies are showing support to nurses by giving priority access to healthcare workers and first responders.
- BJ’s Wholesale Club: From 8 to 9 a.m. Sundays, health care workers can shop without a membership at all locations when they show their badge for the new “Appreciation Hour”
- Giant Eagle: Health care workers can shop an hour before stores open to the public every Thursday and Friday
- Sam’s Club: Every Tuesday, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m, Sam’s Club offers “Hero Hours”, where first responders and healthcare professionals can shop without the lines
- Save Mart: All Save Mart, FoodMaxx, and Lucky stores will have shopping hours for healthcare professionals – one hour before and one hour after posted store hours daily
- Walmart: The stores are reserving an hour each day for pickup orders for healthcare workers. The “pickup hour” is from 7 to 8 a.m. daily
- Overstock: Club O membership is free for all nurses, which includes 5% off every purchase, free returns, price match guarantees, double rewards for leaving a review (about $40 per review), and extra rewords in the O Extra Rewards Store
3. Urge your favorite nurse to buy from companies that offer discounts for nurses
- Crocs offer a free pair of crocs to nurses (on a limited basis).
- Verizon expanded its unlimited pricing plan to include nurses and teachers. New and existing Verizon customers are eligible for the plan
- Nike provides responders and medical professionals a 10% discount
- Lululemon offers 15% off purchases for healthcare workers
- Adidas allows nurses to enjoy a 30% discount when purchasing online, or a 20% discount at factory outlets
- New Balance offers 25% discount for community heroes, which includes nurses
- Reebok offers 50% off their products for medical and hospital workers
- Asics offers a 40% discount to medical professionals
- Puma and Under Armour offers 20% discount for nurses
- Ray Ban offers 15% off of purchases for nurses
- L.L.Bean offers 10% off orders for medical professionals
- Vera Bradley offers 15% off for nurses
- Samsung offers 30% discount for first responders, including nurses
- Phillips offers US nurses 25% off of purchases
- Bose offers nurses a special discount on purchases over $199
- Casper offers nurses 20% off of all their products
- Hotwire provides a 10% discount for the medical community
- Pandora offers 10% off purchases for medical professionals
- AirBnB allows frontline workers, including many frontline nurses to stay for free
Check here for even more discounts for nurses.
4. Support nurses by donating blood, platelets, or plasma
The American Red Cross encourages everyone to keep their scheduled blood, platelet, or plasma donation appointments, as well as make new donation appointments in future to ensure a healthy supply during the pandemic.
You can make your appointment here.
5. Feed frontline nurses at the hospital with ‘GoFundMe’
Check to see if there is a ‘GoFundMe’ set up for support for nurses and other healthcare workers within your community.
There are several GoFundMe pages online to help feed hungry nurses who are treating COVID-19 patients at healthcare facilities. Here are a few you can support now:
6. Support nurses by providing childcare
In most states, childcare services have closed entirely until June or later. As a result, many healthcare workers continue to struggle to find childcare during the pandemic. Offering childcare services is a great way to support nurses and take away some of their stress during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Here is a great example: After a nursing program in Wisconsin was barred from clinicals because of the pandemic, they found a way to help their university medical center’s nurses and doctors by organizing child care. Do you know a nurse who needs help with childcare?
7. Tell your favorite nurse that AT&T is giving three months of free phone service to all healthcare workers
During John Krasinski’s digital show “Some Good News,” he announced that AT&T is supporting nurses by offering three months of free phone service to healthcare workers. The AT&T website states:
“Nurses and physicians already on FirstNet Mobile – Responder plan will automatically receive the three-month service credit on a smartphone or tablet line of service. On Monday, April 13, new subscribers are also eligible.”
8. Offer to drop off groceries and needed supplies to show your support for nurses
If you have a friend or neighbor in the healthcare field, ask them for their grocery list so you can pick it up while they are at work. That way they can get more rest on days they are at home.
9. Take care of your health. Don’t go to the emergency room unless it is an emergency
It is essential to keep emergency rooms open to care for an increasing number of COVID-19 patients. Stay home, and encourage friends, family, and neighbors to stay home.
If you suspect that you have COVID-19, call your physician first for next steps instead of going straight to the emergency room.
10. If you live with a nurse, support them by setting up a decontamination station
Nurses support our communities every day and they are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to friends and family, especially the ones they live with. Here is what you can give them to help them set up a decontamination station:
- Dedicate an area in the garage or outside the front door
- Leave clothes out for them to change into
- Don’t give any hugs until they have showered
11. Share FREE COVID-19 training for nurses
- Free COVID-19 Training Course, IntelyCare:
- IntelyCare, a post-acute facility workforce management company, launched a free COVID-19 training certification program for healthcare professionals.
- American Nurses Association COVID-19 Webinar Series
- The American Nurses Association has a FREE COVID-19 training for nurses to help them protect themselves and help give the best care to COVID-19 patients.
- Back To Basics: Caring For The Critically Ill, a free 6 part training series by Nicole Kupchik Consulting Inc.
- To help quickly educate nurses who need to be cross-trained to care for more critically ill COVID-19 patients
12. Order delivery for nursing shifts
Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and dozens of other businesses are supporting nurses by donating lunches to hospitals during the shutdown), or anyone can order take out and have it sent to a healthcare facility.
13. Tell your local healthcare facility to get free scrubs from Barco for nurses
Barco is donating 10,000 scrubs each month to support nurses and other healthcare professionals on the frontlines of COVID-19. Request a donation directly from their website (minimum of 50 sets required).
14. Wear a mask and socially distance by at least 6 feet in public
By helping to “flatten the curve,” you are taking pressure off of healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients.
Per the CDC website: “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.”
Nurses support the idea that the best way to prevent spread is to follow the public health expert’s advice by wearing a mask in public and limiting face-to-face contact through physically distancing yourself.
15. Share that free mental health services are available for frontline healthcare workers
Project Parachute is a program that offers free teletherapy for frontline healthcare workers. It is giving many nurses a well-needed mental outlet during COVID-19.
The program now has over 500+ therapists and over 5,000+ free monthly sessions to support nurses and other healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in 37 states.
Find out more about Project Parachute here.
16. Keep a positive attitude
For many people, social distancing from family and friends is a recipe for loneliness and depression. Do what you can to stay positive during this stressful time. Here are a few activities to try:
- Keep a journal.
- Take a walk every day to get out of the house.
- Get the FREE Peloton app for hundreds of free at-home fitness classes (free for 90 days).
- Learn to cook new recipes.
- Zoom with friends and family each week.
By supporting our nurses and one another, we can get through this very stressful period in time together. The COVID-19 pandemic will end eventually, but a renewed appreciation for our healthcare workers will remain indefinitely. When Nurses Day comes around next year, you should be more prepared to support your favorite nurse than anyone else on the block!
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Guest author Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, SCRN is a second-career nurse, freelance writer, mother of two, and founder of Mother Nurse Love, a resource for busy mom RN’s. Her nursing specialties include emergency room, neuro/trauma, and critical care. In a rare moment of spare time, you might find Sarah practicing yoga, writing, or attending a local concert venue with her husband.