Here are 10 ways that you can pay it forward:
Working in the healthcare industry can be quite gratifying — helping people feel better who are suffering, comforting the patient’s concerned family members and friends, and making a difference to the most vulnerable population. On the other hand, being a front-line medical worker is known to be stressful, as well as emotionally and physically taxing. These ‘healthcare heroes’ including nurses, technicians, physicians, and therapists, are encountering additional challenges due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Supporting our medical frontline workers is essential as we have now surpassed a full calendar year fighting COVID-19.
- Publicly acknowledge nurses on social media. The popular poet Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Angelou believed that everyone simply wants to be ‘seen’ — giving a healthcare hero a shout out can go a long way for their morale. Taking the time to acknowledge their sacrifices could be the reason a sleep deprived nurse musters up the energy to tackle their next shift. This platform gives you the opportunity to download a picture and then share it on a social media outlet. Although all medical workers are invaluable, nurses in particular are the heartbeat of healthcare.
- Do not take medical supplies from providers. When you’re visiting a healthcare clinic, office or hospital as a patient or a visitor, do not take their supplies, including hand sanitizers, face masks, medical gloves, or toilet paper. Personal protection equipment has been in short supply since the beginning of the pandemic; taking their inventory only exacerbates the problem and hinders caring for their patients.
- Donate to organizations who support healthcare workers. There is no shortage of reputable charities and corporate companies to donate funds to, who support frontline workers. For example, Intrahealth International directly assists medical workers by providing essential services and supplies.
- Pay their parking fees. Many hospitals are located in urban cities, which require street parking with paid meters. The next time you’re nearby a local medical facility, pay for a healthcare worker’s parking. Better yet, if it’s a teaching hospital, call the local nursing school and ask how you can help pay for the students parking. And if the healthcare system doesn’t require parking meters for employees, you can simply leave a thank you note on the windshield of healthcare workers who display stickers/decals on their vehicles.
- Send money with a click. It is simple to make a small donation to medical staff. Pay-Pal and Venmo make it easy to transfer a ‘thinking of you’ gift for them to grab a cup of coffee or a meal from their favorite restaurant. No matter how they use the contribution, it will make a difference just knowing that they matter.
- Connect with a local caterer or restaurant to arrange for donated meals. Inevitably there will be local food providers who are more than happy to make a donation to their local medical facility. Either the business can donate the meals 100% out of their own pockets, or you can help arrange collecting monetary donations from the community to cover the hard costs for these meals. Next, call your hospital’s local unit (e.g. emergency room, ICU, etc.) and ask to speak to the supervisor. Tell them you’d like to have a complimentary meal donated for the daytime and evening staff, and make arrangements to meet any COVID-19 safety protocols.
- Donate and drop off groceries. Arrange to have groceries and household essentials delivered to frontline medical workers’ homes. You can do this yourself, or work with an online third party delivery service to do the shopping and driving.
- Get tested. Get vaccinated. If you’re experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, such as loss of taste or a fever, it’s extremely important to isolate immediately. Call your doctor’s office to see if they have tests available, and if they offer outdoor testing so you can avoid going inside and possibly infecting other patients, which would also put a greater burden on the medical staff. Unlike the earlier part of this pandemic, both rapid and PCR testing is more readily available. Additionally, there are more and more COVID-19 vaccines available, and states across the United States are starting to loosen their restrictions on who can receive it based on qualifications such as age.
- Donate your time. Volunteer with your community’s Red Cross; there may be opportunities to deliver supplies and other important assistance to support COVID-19 efforts.
- Donate blood. Another way to give back is by donating blood if you’re qualified to do so. You can find local blood drives in your area, or schedule an appointment.