Vi står midt i en pandemi. Hospitalerne mangler ikke udstyr men villige hænder.
Can we as citizens and society expect nurses to volunteer to care for Covid patients?
We are in the middle of a pandemic. The hospitals do not lack equipment but willing hands.
We all need to do our part to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and to protect the most vulnerable in our society. The children go to school from home, the young people do not have the social life they need, citizens with mental health problems suffer from the current conditions, the old people are lonely and miss their children and grandchildren – all require an extra effort from each of us, for the sake of the community and not to overload our health care system.
Here in the United States, New York in the spring asked doctors and nurses from across the country for help. Thousands volunteered, kissed their loved ones goodbye and boarded planes that carried them from one end of the country to the other. They arrived in a chaos where the hospitals were understaffed and there was a lack of protective equipment. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers died, the disease was still new and the staff was in a situation they had never been in before.
New York asked for help, and they received it from self-sacrificing men and women across the country. Men and women, many of them with families at home. The volunteers had the professional knowledge and expertise that was so badly needed. They were heroic and ready to help, even if they were scared.
There is no doubt that healthcare professionals who care for Covid patients are everyday heroes. Here in the United States, they are on the brink of exhaustion after almost a year with this horrible killer. Both physically and mentally, they express that they have difficulty dealing with both their professional and personal everyday life.
Many hands are needed when Corona patients are to be cared for in the intensive care unit. We have seen the pictures of white-clad hospital staff who, after a system, check fluids, lift the duvet, check the screens with vital information and turn the patient into a coma. That process requires a team of at least 5 people.
In Denmark, there is no shortage of hospital equipment that lacks hands to care for Covid patients. Nurses in the country’s hospitals have been asked to volunteer, far too few have done so. Therefore, the state has now formed a Corona contingency where nurses can be told that they must be ready if they are called.
I have a friend who works as a nurse at a Seattle hospital. Her specialty is wound care. Already in the spring, she was asked to work with Covid patients when needed. I have never heard her complain, even though the Corona crisis here in the USA is out of control, and she is a single mother of two school-going children who, due to Corona, do not go to school but are taught at home in the 9th month. She has 12-hour shifts and transportation to and from the hospital on top. It’s not something she’s talking about, it’s just that.
I’m well aware that being a nurse is not a ´ calling, ´ but I’m surprised that once you’ve chosen a health care profession, you can not see the point in stepping in when you are in. a situation where human life is at stake. In a country of solidarity like Denmark, it is a failure that one is not willing to back up one’s colleagues and take a turn with the blessed nurses who have now been fighting Corona for months in the first place.