Teberah Alexander, RN, BSN, also known as “Nurse T,” and founder of Nurses Who Care, is holding a Future Nurses Program for kids 6-13 on Saturday, May 6th, from 1-5 pm at Renaissance High School (6565 W. Outer Drive) in Detroit in honor of National Nurses Week.
Nurse T’s Future Nurses Program gives children a hands-on experience in nursing and healthcare professions through interactive workshops. The program will introduce these crucial fields to kids directly from the source and celebrate that nursing isn’t just a job. It’s a calling.
The free program will also appeal to youth, nursing students, nursing instructors, health care professionals, hospital administrators, pharmacists, teachers, and the community. Register for the Future Nurses Program at thenurseswhocare.com by April 27th.
Nurses Who Care founder Teberah Alexander RN, BSN is a veteran nurse with more than 14 years of experience in clinical care.
Nurse T Doll Inspires the Next Generation of Nurses
Alexander, the founder and CEO of Nurses Who Care, is on a mission to entertain children during playtime while encouraging their personal development skills through books, dolls, and games. So she used her experience and wisdom from her nursing career to also launch the Nurse T Doll, designed to instill a love for the medical field in young girls and boys, fostering ambitions to become the patient care professionals of the future.
In the spirit of playing with a purpose, the doll will help teach kids about a day in the life of a nurse because “we are counting on the next generation to connect with their inner enthusiasm and study nursing,” says Alexander. The Nurse T Doll is also the first-ever nursing doll in the image of a real nurse.
Esther Conteh has enjoyed an extraordinary and varied healthcare and nursing career for over 25 years. She emigrated to New York City from Sierra Leone as a teenager and was inspired by her mother’s work as a midwife back home and decided to pursue a career in healthcare.
After working as a home health aide at VNS Health, she became an RN with the organization and moved quickly through the ranks, leading to her current leadership role, where she oversees a large and diverse team.
In everything she does, Esther works towards building a culture of inclusivity and family for her team. She is committed to providing top-notch care to the communities served by VNS Health Choice MAP and MLTC, many of whom come from vulnerable backgrounds.
I’m an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN) and Associate Vice President at VNS Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit home and community-based healthcare organizations. I manage care for members of our Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Long Term Care health plans, which were developed specially for people with complex, chronic health conditions.
Please discuss your career path and how you ascended to that role.
I have been at VNS Health for 25 years—I started here as a home health aide working in Manhattan. I knew from the beginning that caring for people in their homes was what I wanted to do, so I got in on the ground floor, and it was a great beginning. As a home health aide, I absorbed the experience of what it was like for people to recover. I got a chance to see what people needed and their concerns. I learned how to reassure and help people as they regained strength or coped with changing health conditions. The empathy I found in those days still guides me today.
After working as an aide, I went on to train and become a nurse and graduated as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN) from NYU. I was eager to build my skills in home health nursing. As I expanded my education, I focused on home health–a specialty I’ve always been drawn to because you can interact with people, and education is a big component. There is always the potential to help people understand what they need to stay healthy.
Throughout it all, I am grateful for the support of my mentors and those I work alongside. For example, when I was just about to enter the field as a nurse, I was also in the middle of my first pregnancy. As you might imagine, balancing so many life changes at once can be challenging! Thankfully, I had a lot of flexibility in home care, but the job could still be intense when I first started. I’m immensely grateful for the support I received from the team I worked with and my managers. Those early relationships helped me get where I am now.
After several years working in the field and many changes in the healthcare system, I’ve moved into a new role that’s been exciting. The work I do today as an AVP of Care Management for our VNS Health Health Plans is very much informed by my field experience. When talking with a client on the phone, I can visualize their home and ask questions about their environment, lifestyle, companions, or caregivers at home. Every day is different, but each structure is similar in many ways. That’s one thing I love about this work. Working with our MLTC (Managed Long Term Care) and Medicare members requires skill, empathy, and patience. Our plans serve some of the most vulnerable communities in the city. Disabilities, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, arthritis, and other chronic illnesses all come with fears and potential complications for our members. We try to simplify things and help them navigate complex systems, so they feel more in control of their health and well-being. Working in a management role, I still feel like I am a nurse first, but I’m also part of a care team that needs to be agile and deliver care quickly. My experience helps me support others on the team, too—especially younger clinicians.
Why did you become a nurse?
Growing up in Sierra Leone, my parents were healthcare workers and educators, helping all the locals. It sparked my desire to work in health care and to help others as my parents did. The care they provided others shaped my thinking, and I have never swayed from my passion for working in health and helping others. I moved to New York when I was sixteen, and as I finished school, I started moving into a career in health care, starting first as a home health aide. That experience still informs my work today and has given me a valuable perspective on best serving different patients.
What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders, and why?
The first word that comes to mind for me is integrity. As a nurse, you’re often with people at their most vulnerable and truly depend on you, so integrity is critically important. Another core value that makes a good leader is empathy. Next, you have to understand where people are in their life journey. And lastly, you need to be agile and flexible and be able to pivot when needed. Especially working in people’s homes, our nurses are always mindful of where our patients come from. Every day has the potential to bring something entirely unexpected or new.
What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and how are you making a difference?
Experience is so important. Leading others, whether that is guiding someone who needs care or a team member that supports them, as is the case with our health plan care managers, that both the members and my colleagues know they can trust me. Leading requires clarity and honesty. I use those skills every day. There’s a lot of urgency in the work we do. Precision is essential, and you must make decisions quickly sometimes—it can be stressful. Everyone experiences that, both members and our experts on the phone. We lead by example and communicate one step at a time so we can hear what our members are saying—we try to “meet them where they are.”
Those we serve are often facing multiple comorbidities and life challenges. So you must ask yourself, what can I do right now to ease some of the issues this person has to deal with? It’s about considering all their needs, not just nursing care, but do they have access to food? Are they safe? If not, we must prioritize those crucial basics for our members.
What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?
As the aging adult population grows, so will the need for skilled home care nurses and caregivers. It’s an exciting time to be in this specialty, but it also means more nurses with skills in home health care will be needed.
I don’t think the solution is simply hiring more people. Instead, we must think carefully about where nursing is going and how to improve. It is about what we learn from those we care for and how that can transform nursing. It is about working smarter, not harder. Because we can all agree burnout is a prevalent issue across the industry, and it’s important to support both veteran and novice nurses that put their all into the work.
As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?
Technology has become a valuable tool and resource for our team. Throughout the pandemic, it’s been amazing to see how telemedicine has transformed how we communicate and deliver care. The pandemic brought people together through technology and made it easier to trust and feel a face-to-face connection, even if that was on a phone or computer screen. For many of us in nursing, I think it opened our eyes to new possibilities.
For example, with remote patient monitoring, you can recognize a problem before you are even there in person, enabling us to respond faster. From afar, we can manage our patient’s heart rates, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and much more. With this data, we can spot emergencies and react immediately. At VNS Health, we created a sort of dashboard where we could track and monitor incidents with patients. This lets us monitor risk and work with different teams to determine which services or interventions are likely needed.
Technology encourages even the most seasoned nurses to think out of the box. Our world is changing, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Especially if it can help nurses excel, feel supported, and better serve their patients.
What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?
That’s a tricky question because there are so many who have been an inspiration to me! Someone who comes to my mind first is Susan Underwood, Director of Compliance Operations with VNS Health. I first met her in an entirely different capacity from the one I am now, as I had just graduated from another part of the organization, so it felt like I was starting somewhere new. However, she was incredibly supportive and recognized my potential, encouraging me to grow.
She approached me one day and said, “I think you are ready to take the next step. So let’s work together to find a role where you can grow your skillset and mature.” And she was right. Moving into a leadership/managerial role was daunting, but I’m glad I did it.
Looking back even further, I think the founder of our organization, America’s first public health nurse, Lillian Wald, was such a visionary figure. Her work 130 years ago still holds so much in common with what we do today. She looked around at the communities she worked in and saw significant issues that needed to be addressed. So, she took action. And that way of seeing the world, of instilling change, is very much a part of the culture here at VNS Health today.
In home health, as a nurse, you have the privilege and the challenge of being aware of so much. We watch family dynamics firsthand; we see the ins and outs of a patient’s life and understand the many unspoken things behind the scenes. Home health nurses must ask ourselves, “What help do I need to bring? Do they trust me in this relationship?” Home health nurses must consider all the factors that impact a patient when planning care.
What message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?
It is so important to have a passion for this field, knowing that it can be tough sometimes. But nurses will find that sticking with this career is worth it if it is their passion. In nursing, as in every other career, there will always be challenges, and many of us face added hurdles because of race or ethnicity. However, one advantage I’ve seen is a better understanding of some health disparities because of my lived experience. That alone can play a powerful part in healing.
I would tell future nurses you have a significant role, especially when serving people who look like you and might share the same experience. Remind yourself that it’s important to implement a certain amount of selflessness, be there for them, and show up for them because you can make a real difference in their lives.
As you advance in your career, don’t let your fears hinder your growth. You are never truly alone in the journey; don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support. You will have so many people–to inspire you, encourage you, help you grow, and share their experiences with you. I have been so blessed to have people, all my leaders, all my bosses, and all the people I’ve encountered in this job, and I learn from them. So have a toolkit in place, be ready to be a sponge, and soak up new experiences. Education never ends when you’re a clinician; there’s always something new to learn.
As a Black woman, I want to tell other nurses that your contribution will speak for itself. Sometimes, you may feel like people don’t always tell you they appreciate you. But trust me; you will be rewarded. You may not see it immediately, and it may not be tangible, but there is a reward for all you do.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Nursing has always felt so natural to me. It could be because it brings me joy every day, and I chose a career that keeps me happy and smiling. As nurses, we may not have all the answers all the time, but if we do what we can at the moment to change somebody’s life and positively impact them, then we’ve done our job.
The real beauty of nursing is that there are so many ways to be a part of it, and you can find an outlet for your strengths. You could work in different environments or specialties like home health, hospice, or behavioral health. You can lead teams as a care manager or become an expert in analytics and data …you have so many options and choices. The sky’s the limit when you have a nursing career!
Patricia Cummings, RN, is a clinical nurse manager at Howard University Hospital. She holds the distinction of inoculating Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband with their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Cummings has been a nurse for more than 15 years and is passionate about health promotion and education. She was born in Guyana and moved to the U.S. about 20 years ago.
In February, we’ll highlight healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.
Meet Patricia Cummings, a clinical nurse manager at Howard University Hospital
Talk about your career path and how you ascended to that role.
I have never envisioned myself being a nurse leader. I wanted to be a nurse when I was 16 years old. I was privileged to live with a family member who was a registered nurse. She would come home and tell about their stories and her experiences. And I was very intrigued and always wanted to help people in whatever capacity, so she influenced me into the world of nursing. When I graduated from nursing school, I went through the typical bedside med surg nursing, and I did that for about eight years. And after I decided I wanted to try different areas. That’s one of the great things about nursing. It is very versatile and allows you to venture off into other areas. So I did some home care consulting for the first few years and case management for a few years. And then, the opportunity presented itself for me to acquire a nursing leadership position. And I was recommended by someone I knew who saw something in me and thought I would probably do well in nursing leadership. And so I started, and over the past five to six years, I’ve grown to love nursing leadership, which is my passion. And I can’t envision myself doing anything else.
What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders?
Today’s nurse leader has to evolve in several ways, especially in light of the COVID pandemic. We’ve had to become creative and tweak some of how we lead. So the nurse leader of today has to be a great communicator. There are persons, whether it’s the staff we’re privileged to lead or the patients we care for, with issues and heightened anxiety just because of everything that’s happening. And so, a nurse leader must listen intently and respond appropriately, be empathetic, and be compassionate. Servant leadership, which I strive for, is one of the best leadership styles needed today. A servant leader who serves offers in whatever capacity to assist and make sure that the job gets done and is very humble has to have a high degree of humility. And that helps to earn your team’s trust and gain buy-in for them to do and see the vision and get it done. And a nurse leader also up to date needs to be innovative, conducting research and keeping up-to-date with current technologies, etc., things that will help make work more efficient. Those are the main attributes a nurse leader needs to have in today’s nursing world.
What does it mean to you to be a nursing leader, and how are you making a difference?
Nursing leadership means I get to influence others. I’ve been a nurse leader for about six years now. And when I was thinking about going back to school for my graduate degree, I did my research. And when I came upon Walden University and looked at their curriculum for the nurse executive leadership program, I was very impressed. And as I mentioned, my aunt is also an alumnus. So she influenced me as far as my choice, but just going back to school and having my degree and everything I received through my education has equipped me and allowed me to influence the people I am privileged to lead.
One of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, is a leadership guru. Not just nursing leadership, he has a quote, “He who thinks he’s a leader and has no followers is simply taking a walk.” I love that quote because it says if you’re unable to influence others and have them follow your vision and see what you’re trying to establish or accomplish, you’re not fulfilling that purpose. As a nurse leader, I get to influence others. I get to have new nurses fresh out of nursing school come to me. I get to be a role model. I get to influence and contribute to their nursing career. And beyond the nurses, the patients who we get to touch. One of the things I love about my job as a nurse manager is that as much as I am in a leadership position, I still get to interact with my patients. So I am around daily with every patient on my unit to assess their satisfaction, etc. And so I love all of it. So influence is my biggest reward as a nurse leader.
What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?
One of the most difficult challenges facing nursing today, nationally and globally, is the nursing shortage. There has always existed a nursing shortage to a degree. However, the COVID pandemic added to a more significant shortage. A lot of middle-aged and older nurses retired. But the bottom line is that there is a shortage of nurses, which has impacted organizations. Several hospitals around the country have closed down or have decreased their capacity because they cannot afford or not afford to do you’re not able to recruit nurses. And that impacts patient care. So the short has a ripple effect.
As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?
One of the things I tried to do is to keep up-to-date with other nurse leaders and get a sense of what we, as nurse leaders, are doing as a group. One of the things I learned while at Walden University is that, as a nurse leader, you have to keep up with research and what is trending because, very likely, whatever challenges you’re facing individually, it tends to be regionally, nationally, globally, so get intel on what other organizations are doing.
So one of the things that are critical right now is effective recruitment. And that entails screening candidates and becoming creative in where we look for candidates. So I work very closely with my recruitment team. I check in with them every other day to ensure we’re utilizing every possible medium to recruit candidates. At Howard University Hospital, we have very robust nurse residency programs to recruit new grads and provide them with a very efficient experience where they can work alongside experienced nurses and the confidence and skills they need to function. At the end of the residency program, we’ve had a great success rate where most of these candidates are desirous of remaining and staying within the organization. I have encouraged many of my ancillary staff, like CNAs and patient care technicians, to return to school because they know that their team will be willing to help them succeed in their nursing journey. And just word of mouth, I have volunteered to go to various nursing schools, for example, Trinity Nursing and the University of the District of Columbia are some of the colleges were are affiliated with, and speak with nursing students about their career paths and the advocating for them to come to our institution. And as simple as it may seem, I am very involved with the community where I reside and advocating for or spreading the word about nursing. For example, I have two children. One is in high school. One is in middle school, and every career day I attend. I talk with students about nursing, why it is important that they pursue nursing, why we need nurses, and the importance of nurses, etc. And so those are some ways I got the word out about nursing and the fact that we need nurses and with recruitment.
How were you chosen to inoculate Vice President Harris with the COVID vaccine?
The universe allowed it to happen because of me. I couldn’t say that I had too much to do with it. I positioned myself because when the vaccines became available at the hospital where I worked, they allotted vaccines and opened up a clinic. The volume of people that came into our clinic differed from what we anticipated. They needed more nurses to administer the vaccine. As a nurse manager, I offered to assist for a few hours. And incidentally, on the first day that I volunteered, I had the opportunity to vaccinate our CEO, CMO, and the entire C-suite. Once they received word that Vice President Harris was interested in coming to that particular organization, they had confidence in my ability. Everything aligned itself, and I’m so grateful I was chosen.
What nursing leader inspires you the most?
My auntie. But presently, the person I have just been able to connect with and who I communicate with is Sandra Lindsay. She is the RN who is the person who received the very first COVID vaccine in the entire country. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting her a few short months ago, so I’ve connected with her. And I admire who she is as a leader. She’s a nurse and has her doctoral degree, but she exemplified servant leadership. So it’s best in its best form when she volunteered to be not a guinea pig but to be that person to be inoculated first in front of the entire country. And so beyond that, she is a nurse leader. She’s a director, and I just dialogued with her about some of her strategies, and I’m so impressed. She is a great mentor and model for me.
What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?
To nurses, you are needed. As a nurse and person, the world of nursing needs you. You can relate to a particular group of patients. Sometimes, I’ve had experiences where a patient’s preference for a nurse of the same race can relate to that. And so I would say to Black nurses, specifically, you are valuable where you’re needed. You make a difference. The pandemic showed that those patients who were in need, who were on good to where, you know, transitioning, just wanted a person to be there to hold their hand as they took their last breath when family members were unable to be present at the time. And nurses were the only ones at the bedside. Those patients did not have a preference for color or any other defining characteristic. They just wanted a nurse or a person to be there with them. And so I, again, you are needed. You’re valuable. We don’t have enough nurses in hospitals, and so I aspire to do and to be and to be committed to the profession of nursing. It is a noble rewarding profession. And it’s fulfilling. I encourage those who are nursing students to remain committed to nursing school is not easy. But the rewards, in the end, will be fulfilling. And that would be my message that they stay committed to the profession because you are necessary. I advise all nurses to ensure they are aware of themselves and engage in self-care. Because for us to administer care to others, we must be mindful of our needs. The pandemic taught us that we must regularly check our mental health.
In January 2009, the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) staged the grand opening of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona with Dr. Crista Johnson, MD, FACOG as the founding medical director. It is believed to be the only such clinic in the U.S. specializing in obstetrics and gynecology for refugee women from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
“What was striking,” said Dr. Johnson, “was the language, the cultural barriers and the stress the women experienced when they would come to the hospital. The clinic will be an oasis to the community because there will be trained staff, knowledgeable regarding care services, resources, and specialized information who understand the patients better, and are able to facilitate a positive patient experience during their hospital contact and even in their homes.”
“These people,” Dr. Johnson continued, “are called navigators and they include nurses, public health workers, lay workers and others who would serve as a resource guiding, interpreting, communicating, facilitating and helping the refugees through the often times complicated and unfamiliar processes in obtaining satisfactory health care services.”
In the case of the refugee, who most know very little about seeing a doctor, or receiving clinical treatment, or home care of any sort and are also totally lacking in exposure to allied health services. But the engagement of navigators to improve certain service outcomes, and ultimately access to services, added a dimension that has made the service provider a key contributor to the improvement of patient satisfaction.
Duke Health in 2011 launched a robust and credible initiative using a class of employees as navigators who would serve as a resource to patients who because of cultural, economic, historical life experiences, or other reasons needed assistance in facilitating their engagement with the healthcare provider.
“The mission of the intervention,” said Dr. Angelo Moore, PhD, Assistant Director and Program Manager for Community Outreach, Engagement, and Equity (COEE) with Duke Cancer Institute, “was to be part of a highly visible community overall strategy to achieve care delivery that was equitable, culturally appropriate, and timely. The desired result would contribute to improved community health, higher performance outcomes and patient satisfaction.” The mechanism that would be employed is referred to as patient navigation. This is a concept and a process first introduced in 1990 by Dr. Harold Freeman a surgeon who saw the need for a resource for his cancer patients in Harlem Hospital, New York and who were predominantly African American women.
Dr. Freeman, who now oversees the operations of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute in New York, describes navigation as an individual intervention to help overcome barriers due to systemic reasons. “Patient navigation is what a person does,” says Dr. Freeman. However, the type of patient navigation that is employed is based on the education, skill set, scope and who is being served. In the market-place, and since the launching of the concept, several different titles have emerged such as Nurse Navigator, Resource Navigator, Community-Facing Navigator, Clinical Navigator, Non-Clinical Navigator, Lay Navigator. There is now an ongoing effort to harmonize these titles around a common set of descriptors common to the role and purpose of navigation.
Foundational to the role and purpose of navigation is the elimination of barriers or impediments.
What types of impediments are these? Examples of some of the frequently encountered barriers that may be eliminated through patient navigation: Financial barriers (including uninsured and under insured); communication barriers (such as lack of understanding, language and/or cultural competency), medical system barriers (fragmented medical system, missed appointments, lost results); psychological barriers (such as fear and distrust); other barriers (such as transportation and need for childcare).
Dr Freeman’s interest and desire to tackle the high percentage of African American women who were referred to him for diagnosis and treatment, was peaked when he saw that they were in the third and fourth stages of the disease of cancer. He took note that these women were also poor economically and lived very marginal lives, the circumstances that would impact their access to care. Dr. Freeman knew from available data that white women had a lower cancer morbidity rate. He decided to conduct an investigative approach to identify, if possible, the root causes of this phenomenon.
One of the core derivatives of his work was the description assigned to the title “patient navigator.” A patient navigator is a healthcare professional who proactively guides patients through the healthcare process. They are responsible for ensuring that the healthcare provider’s system met the needs of the patient as best as possible. To that end, patient navigators spend their time communicating with patients and their families and as an interface between the patient and the provider. They engage patients by describing the relevant options, the true nature of their illness, what to expect during the treatment process, and what their recovery process will be like. They may also need to identify what are the patient’s legal rights.
It’s important that patient navigators once able to convey the specific impediments that stand in the way of effective treatment, go in pursuit of remedies to overcome the obstacles that they may encounter while pursuing treatment. This means that employees in this role need to be highly knowledgeable of healthcare systems and what can be done to ensure the patient is provided the best possible care. Attributes of compassion, positiveness, trust-building and coaching skills are key to success as a navigator.
To do well in this role, it’s critical that the employee be able to answer patients’ questions as they arise. This means that navigators must have a strong understanding of healthcare systems and how they function. They should also be a compassionate, positive individual who is capable of inspiring confidence in the patients served.
Ultimately the impact of the work of patient navigation is embedded in the social determinants of care. This addresses the social, cultural, environmental, and economic conditions in society that impact upon health. In this regard, colleagues compile and disseminate evidence on what works to address these determinants, build capacities and advocate for accelerated action.
We are almost at the end of 2020 and one thing that this pandemic has reinforced is that life is “unpredictable.” It is great to plan, but unexpected events can quickly turn things around. These past 10 months have caused many people to slow down and analyze their situations. Many people have lost their jobs, homes, and lives. We could focus on the negative aspects (not to disregard them); but there have been some positive aspects to this unfortunate world event. As we enter into 2021, there are three concepts to embrace and apply to our lives, moving forward: “Pivot, Power, and Purpose.”
This year has caused everyone to refocus and realign how things are done. Every aspect of our lives has been affected and we did not just stop living or doing. Thanks to technology we were able to create new ways of doing ordinary things, such as using Zoom for work meetings, keeping in touch with family and friends; other platforms for kids to attend school; online grocery shopping and food delivery; attending movies, concerts, award shows, exercising, weddings, graduations, and even funerals. We had to learn to “Pivot,” which means to turn or revolve; creating new avenues to maintain the same activities of daily living. We realized there are many things that we took for granted, but we learned to make it work.
Secondly, hopefully this year has made us stronger and more resilient. Releasing our “Power,” which means the ability to act or produce an effect; possession of control, authority, or influence over others. Instead of sitting down and feeling sorry for ourselves, many people have used this time to go back to school, start a home-based business, complete unfinished projects, and create ways to help empower others. We need to take this strength, energy, and power and move full-force ahead into the coming year.
Finally, we all need to explore the reason that we are here, what is our “Purpose?” The textbook definition is an end to be attained, intention, and determination. So, in order to attain we must plan, propose, and design our aim. Discover things that are bigger than you. It is not about what you achieve, but how have you helped or impacted others. Give of your time and talents and surround yourself with positive people.
We tend to get wrapped up in the details of our busy life; but remember we cannot live on purpose, without action. So, learn to Pivot, use your Power, and live your Purpose.
We are in the first quarter of the year and none of us expected or envisioned that we would be dealing with the course of events happening now. It is almost surreal, like a scene from a movie. Many people entered the new year with the desire of having new goals, resolutions, and dreams. This was to be the year signifying “2020 Vision” seeing things more clearly. Everyone stated “this is going to be my year.” What we are going through now has been a real eye-opening experience.
Over the course of history there have been many epidemics, disasters, and social issues, which were usually contained in one region. People may have felt safe thinking, “it is not happening in my city, state or my area of the country.” These past three months, the “Coronavirus pandemic” has affected all U.S. states and multiple countries, and crossed every race, age, and socioeconomic group. This blog is not going to be filled with statistics, because we are bombarded daily from all media sources with the data. Updated information should be obtained from reliable sources such as the CDC (www.cdc.gov) or WHO (www.who.int).
This “global shutdown” has affected every aspect of human life. Freedom and things that we took for granted, such as shopping, going to the movies, dining out, visiting amusement parks, playgrounds, attending concerts, festivals, hanging out with friends and family, and most of all traveling has been brought to a screeching halt. Now families are going to have to learn how to spend more time with their families, reflecting on things to be thankful for and creating entertainment and meals at home.
For safety, government officials have issued “Stay at home” and “Lockdown” mandates, limiting travel for only essential needs. The goal is to try to decrease the spread of the virus, especially to vulnerable populations; hence a new term has been coined “social distancing.” Everyone is to keep a 6-ft distance from each other and limit gatherings of people to 10 or less. Social distancing is a physical separation and does not mean that you cannot communicate with others. The one positive note is that in this age of technology we all can stay connected to others whether they are in the same city or across the country.
Social distancing is important, but there are two populations that this may have an adverse effect on, those with mental illness and those that are in abusive relationships or families. Social distancing could cause “social isolation” and those with depression could have an increased risk of suicide. The worst thing is having individuals quarantined in the home with their abusers. If you know anyone that is in an abusive situation or has mental health issues, reach out to them, if possible.
We are not sure when this pandemic will come to an end, so during this time find ways to decrease your anxiety and stress and try not to panic. Some things that you can do is continue to exercise, keep your humor (in light of what’s going on), watch movies, create crafts and cook together, and make sure to reach out to those that may be alone.
May this pandemic not dim our vision. Stay calm, stay focused and productive.