Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

I’ve given a lot of thought to my last blog of the year. Without a doubt, it has been a very difficult one. Even Time magazine’s most recent issue is in your face with a “2020 The Worst Year Ever” cover.

All of us who work in healthcare have been touched by this pandemic. We’ve lost people we love; we’ve worked with skeleton staff weeks on end; we’ve sacrificed time with our loved ones. Many of us have gotten COVID or lost a family member to it.

We’ve been bitter and angry as we try to hold the line while pandemic deniers party and carry on as if COVID-19 does not exist. We are at a point where the daily death rate from COVID — more than 3,000 deaths a day and rising, EACH day — is higher than all the lives lost across New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC, on Sept. 11, 2001. And while we in these United States have the power to stop this, approximately half of the population will not make even the slightest sacrifice, claiming that to do so is a violation of their rights. I ask: Rights to what? Right to kill others and kill this economy? A right to overburden this healthcare system?

But I am not sure I agree with the Time’s heading, because I have seen the best in people as well. 

I have seen you, the long-term care professional, perform inhuman feats of greatness. Face danger by caring for COVID patients early last year with cloth masks and no gowns or face masks when we couldn’t get PPE. And you kept showing up. When you had outbreaks in your buildings, you kept showing up. 

Despite one survey after the other, stress that would break anyone else, you kept showing up. Knowing that we may be facing ridiculous, frivolous lawsuits, you still keep showing up. You continue to be real life superheroes. 

As always, you inspire me to be more than I am. And that’s a good way to end this year.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.