Supporting the Frontline – 4 Ways Non-Direct-Care Nurses Can Help

By Kelli Schweitzer, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, Sr. Director of Professional Practice at ONA

The incredible acts of heroism and compassionate expertise displayed by our front line nurses has been amazing, and I am sure they will continue to amaze us in the days and weeks to come as we navigate COVID-19 together. While not every nurse is on the frontline, the work that those of us are doing to support them is crucial. Here at ONA we are working to bring support and resources to the nurses we serve, as well as advocate for important issues related to the many effects of COVID-19.

Two years ago, I left the bedside to pursue my full-time role here at ONA. In addition to pursuing career and professional goals, I needed to leave the bedside due to declining health from Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was a difficult decision, but I love the work I do supporting nurses with their professional development needs. I have always felt passionate about professional development and know that I am making a valuable contribution.

Now that our healthcare landscape has changed drastically due to COVID-19, my heart aches for not being able to be at the bedside with my colleagues. We have had emails and calls from nurses asking how their skills can be used in a time such as this. If you are no longer in a direct patient-care role but want to do more in the fight against COVID-19, like myself, I have few thoughts.

1. Do your part to stop the spread — Stay home
Do not put yourself in risky situations. We need to be part of reducing the strain on our healthcare system. We want to remain nurses and not become patients. Besides, we are never very good patients 
Check out the White House’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread.

2. Keep yourself educated so that you can best educate those around you
As nurses we have unique expertise to decipher all that is coming our way. Every day there is new information to sift through, and we can be a light to those around us who do not have medical expertise. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question. Our friends and neighbors are scared, and they are not equipped with the same level of insight as us. Be kind!
Check out Ohio’s and the CDC’s coronavirus resources. ONA also have a page linking to a variety of resources.

3. Be a good neighbor
Lack of TP, everyone home schooling, situations outside of our control…it is all a bit overwhelming. Offer a kind word, call a friend, and use your creativity to ease the burden of the days ahead. Taking a meal to someone with a friendly note will do a world of good.

4. Know that ONA is here for you and wants to work with you
As the voice of Ohio’s registered nurses we are here to support you. Our Facebook page has a lot of great information and you can post your thoughts. You can also email ONA at [email protected]

Opportunities for official volunteering are likely coming our way
If you want to volunteer during this time, we have set up a volunteer page to begin collecting names. If you are interested in volunteering to fight COVID-19, visit ONA’s coronavirus resource page. This information will be made available to ONA and government organizations requesting volunteers.