I am a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner who specializes in hematopoeitic stem cell transplantation. My patients and my practice and my field are my whole-hearted passions.
When the COVID-19 alarms were raised, I got ready for battle against the virus the world was fighting, only to later feel cut off from “the cause” as my efforts to volunteer outside of my daily work were denied time and again. Some might call it luck, but for me, it felt isolating. We are surrounded by praise for our efforts, but my efforts have been as equally valiant as they had been before in my “regular day job” because that is the work I continue to do each day (although now to an even more limited extent as we try to minimize non-urgent clinic visits).
Without doubt, there is heroism is staying home and heroism is showing up for your “essential job,” but there’s no way I can feel deserving of “frontline” cheers and virtual pats on the back when I personally have been unable to make a contribution to New York’s COVID battle using my professional skills. Other nurses or doctors living out of state or working in non-major hospital settings or with their own personal health restrictions may feel similarly. We must stay strong, however, and run this race as a marathon and not a sprint, so that we will be ready to help the front lines in the long months to come as the world can hopefully start to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
In the meantime, let us feel pride for our incredible, dedicated, courageous colleagues in the global medical community, and pass along the applause and gratitude they so appropriately deserve.