Columnist Neville Bilimoria explores the high Court drama revealed last week.
Neville Bilimoria
Neville Bilimoria

With all the difficulties and struggles experienced by long-term care and senior living providers over the last year, we need to take a step back and end the year on a positive note. There have been too many stories about COVID-19, problems in the healthcare system and other bad news worldwide. How about something uplifting to see out 2021? We all deserve it.

On Nov. 21, local media here in Chicago reported on a group of nurses who worked at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL. They decided to help others while at a conference in Atlanta. But you’ll never believe how.  

You see, these nurses were attending a special conference composed of the top 10% of nurses. (No surprise). After a long day of seminars, they went to a local Wahlburgers restaurant for some much-needed food. When they arrived, their biggest fears were realized: Their food wasn’t coming. The restaurant was completely and utterly short-staffed.

Imagine: a group of nurses realizing what it means to be short-staffed! Normally, customers would just walk out of the restaurant, and go back to work to help and save patients in need. Maybe they would nod their heads at the overworked and understaffed hamburger staff on the way out as if to say, “We understand your pain!”

But these nurses were different . . . or, maybe, they were just like every other nurse you know working tirelessly on the front lines. They decided to take matters into their own hands, and they jumped into action, offering to help the beleaguered restaurant staff. They stepped up, took orders and served customers.  

“If there’s any group of people who understand staffing shortages and being overwhelmed, it’s going to be a group of nurses who have gone through a pandemic,” April Marrs, 30, an emergency room nurse who was there told The Daily Herald.

You see, these nurses understood the stress, the pressure, of a system that was short staffed.  They understood lack of staffing issues given their stint in the healthcare industry in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. They understood, perhaps better than other passersby, what it really means when you don’t have enough people to do a job.   

This group of six elite nurses, not even thinking about it, jumped into action, and worked three long hours together waitressing, bussing tables, taking orders and delivering food. They learned on the job, and helped to improve the operations at that restaurant that night. Perhaps their helping hand was their own private and continuous battle against the “lack of staffing” forces that have plagued the healthcare industry throughout this pandemic.

Their tireless effort and attitude is what makes the nursing profession what it is. So this holiday season, let’s think about our nurses, and their unflinching dedication. It is this type of resolve, dedication, and professionalism that has helped countless residents, families and loved ones through the pandemic over the last two years.    

Together, let’s honor April Marrs, Amara Costello, Jordyn James, Jennifer Raitt, Sarah Steger, and Mandy Haberman for their work at Wahlburgers and on the frontlines. For that matter, let’s honor all nurses who have helped on the front lines. Whether at a hospital, nursing home, or at your local fast food restaurant, we realize the spirit of service is ingrained in nurses. They help those in need, without discrimination. Let’s be thankful for these and all of our nurses this year.

 Neville M. Bilimoria is a partner in the Chicago office of the Health Law Practice Group and member of the Post-Acute Care And Senior Services Subgroup at Duane Morris LLP; [email protected].

Opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest columns are not necessarily those of McKnight’s.