COVID-19 Q&A: Sanford nursing leader encourages workforce

Pandemic alters Nurses Week and nurses' work, says Meghan Goldammer

Meghan Goldammer and Courtney Collen sit in chairs on opposite sides of a round table for a conversation with topics that included Nurses Week

The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the workforce of nurses who leave their families at home every day to go care for others.

Meghan Goldammer, Sanford Health chief nursing officer, oversees nearly 11,000 nurses. Right now, she says, things are different.

“This will forever shape who we are as nurses,” Goldammer said.

Watch: Meghan Goldammer on Nurses Week, Sanford Response to COVID-19

Nonetheless, she is amazed by the community support, from donations of food to homemade cloth face masks.

Easing the anxiety

Goldammer addressed the physical and emotional demands nurses are facing as well as resources that are available.

“COVID-19 has us all feeling a little anxious, a little uncertain, that’s for sure,” Goldammer said. “We want to do what we can to support that heightened fear and anxiety that we have.”

This pandemic has had an impact financially on some staff members. The Sanford Family Stability Plan announced in late March is helping ease that burden people may face during this time. In addition, the Employee Crisis Fund has raised more than $1 million in donations, already providing relief to more than 600 employees.

There’s also an internal platform for nurses to visit for encouragement, where they can share random acts of kindness or lift up the work of a colleague who has gone above and beyond.

“It helps people know we’re not in this alone,” Goldammer said.

National Nurses Week

Nurses Week begins May 6 and concludes on International Nurses Day, May 12.

A week that’s typically full of celebratory gatherings, recognition events and educational opportunities will look a little different this year.

“As I think about this pandemic and nurses being on the front lines of what we’ve been dealing with, it almost feels a little inadequate to say ‘Happy Nurses Week’,” Goldammer said. “It feels a little more somber.”

At the same time, she sees the good coming out of this unprecedented situation.

“The public is seeing the true capabilities of nursing and what they’re up against, fighting on the front lines and serving our patients.”

If you would like to recognize a nurse right now, Goldammer said a simple “thank you” goes a long way.

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Posted In Community, Coronavirus, Expert Q&A, News, Workplace Health

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