National Nurses Week runs from May 6th to May 12th of every year, paying tribute to the profession of nursing and honoring those who work in healthcare.
Over the past year the sacrifice of nurses who have been working around the clock to stave off the pandemic has been more evident than ever, and in New Hyde Park the Long Island Jewish Medical Center is shining a spotlight on their caretakers while celebrating with the community.
Margaret Muphy, the associate executive director of patient care services at LIJ Medical Center and the hospital’s chief nursing officer believes there is a lot to reflect on that’s taken place over the past year. Not only has she seen nurses rush headfirst into uncertainty, putting the health of their patients above their own, but also an amazing outpouring of support from New Yorkers and specifically Queens.
“Knowing that the community was behind the entire healthcare team was just so incredible,” she said. “So many of those nurses will tell you, ‘I’d do it all again.’”
Murphy saw the positive impact the support of the community had on nurses firsthand. In the midst of the city’s first wave of COVID-19 cases that began in March of last year the fatigue that nurses felt at the time was real, pioneering new ground with limited resources in the face of a deadly virus. When people would bang pots and pans together outside their windows at 7 PM, when police officers and firefighters showed up to salute healthcare workers, Murphy said the boost in moral among the hospital’s team was palpable.
One of the ways LIJ Medical Center is recognizing and celebrating its team members is through social media. Part of Northwell Health, the healthcare network’s Instagram account has amassed over 23 thousand followers since it was created a couple years ago.
Executive Director of LIJ Medical Center, Michael Goldberg, started the page as a way to “focus on recognizing our team members for the effort they put forward each and every day,” but has overseen its evolving role evolve since then. “We’ve seen a significant increase in trust through the pandemic as our Instagram has caught on.”
As Murphy explains, “One of the things that nurses have always done is educate patients. The greatest tool that you could give a patient is knowledge. Just through education, you help the patient make an informed decision and feel more comfortable.”
While the LIJ Medical Center has always embraced an open-door policy when it comes to engaging with patients, COVID-19 and technology have turned it into an open inbox. An easy and accessible way for the community to connect with health professionals, the hospital’s social media presence helps showcase the humanity of frontline workers and conveys their personality as a cohesive team.
Instagram is just one of the ways that LIJ Medical Center is engaging with local communities. The hospital has been collaborating with churches, townships, and other local institutions to set up mobile vaccination sites throughout the five boroughs. “We currently have the resources and capacity to vaccinate 30,000 people a day,” Goldberg said. “And we’ve already set up the infrastructure to do 100,000 in preparation of increased vaccine availability.”