A Message of Appreciation and Care During COVID-19

Dear Gerontological Nurse Colleagues,

We are sending you a message of appreciation, commendation and care. You are dedicated healthcare providers, struggling like everyone else to adjust to the changes and uncertainty in the healthcare system brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. It is clear that as you continue to adapt to the conditions of this crisis, you must also look after yourselves so that your ability to contribute sustains over time. Many of you are emergency or essential workers: thus, it is important that you reserve and direct your energies and support yourselves to meet your personal and family needs as a top priority. How can you enact this if you are re-deployed to new practice areas, are applying PPE techniques with little equipment, working much longer hours than usual, stepping away from retirement to enter the workplace again or living in quarantine due to family or personal illness? Here are some things you can put into place, and know that you are part of a large family of specialty nurses who are in this alongside you:

1.  Make a plan to connect daily or twice daily with your family, friends and social group using telephone, Skype, Face-Time, Facebook or Zoom;

2.  Keep hydrated and nourished;

3.  Cut out the noise: Choose one reliable source of news and updates and access this for updates daily or twice daily. It okay to ignore posted messages from celebrity social media that are not helpful to your well-being;

4.  Set aside those projects and assignments that you can negotiate to defer until a later date;

5.  Let go of perfection and preoccupations with what you think you should be doing right now;

6.  Do something once daily that keeps you fit, even five minutes of stretching, deep breathing or mindfulness can help mitigate your stress. Try online yoga or a relaxation app on your phone, some are as short as 5 minutes (see links to three options below);

7.  Keep a journal record of your experiences;

8.  Remember that you are not alone. Send out positive vibes to your Gerontological Nursing colleagues, particularly those working and living within Canada’s epicentres of COVID-19 spread. There is evidence that ‘collective’ brain messaging does work, from research into prayer chains and spiritual care support networks for cancer survivors. We can help each other survive this experience.

Follow the links below if you would like to review useful mindfulness exercises. The mindfulness guided exercises were produced for two community-based projects: CHAMPs-In-Action to reduce HIV stigma and promote collective resilience; and WE-CARE (Women Empowerment - Caregiver Acceptance & Resilience E-Learning) Intervention study to reduce mental health stress and promote wellbeing of temporary foreign workers. These projects are led by Dr. Kenneth P. Fung (AIM Clinic, University Health Network, Toronto); Dr. Alan T. Li (Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Toronto); Professor Mandana Vahabi and Professor Josephine P. Wong (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto).  Special appreciation and gratitude to Krisel Abulencia, RN, MN, who did the audio recording.

You, your family and your friends may find these useful. The research findings indicate that these are effective in reducing stress and promoting resilience. 

Mindfulness Practice #1 - Grounding Exercise https://youtu.be/kLdPRq1vX4Q

This a grounding exercise that help us to connect to the present time and with letting go of thoughts.

Mindfulness Practice #2 - Clouds in the Sky https://youtu.be/JyFqi6e9ZgY

This defusion helps us to develop skills in observing our thoughts and emotions (worries, anxiety, fear) and recognize them as what they are — thoughts, feelings and emotion, nothing more, nothing less. This is very helpful in reducing worries and anxiety.

Mindfulness Practice #3 - Loving-Kindness https://youtu.be/xGn_8TsZvn4

The practice of loving-kindness during our current crisis situation may promote our psychological resilience.

Feel free to pass them onto your networks.

There will be a day when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. On behalf of all CGNA board members who represent gerontological nurses across our country, we extend to you our heartfelt support as you experience your personal and professional journeys during this time. We are sending you a collective positive brain vibe to support you to come to terms with an emergent world that has already changed. Be strong as you travel through and manage stress and grief. We are all learning new ways to move, build, learn, connect and provide healthcare. We will grow further and flourish as a result. 

Yours in Gerontological Nursing,

Lori Schindel Martin, RN, PhD, GNC (C), CGNA President, GNAO
Mollie Cole, RN, MN, GNC (C), CGNA Past-President, AGNA
Elaine Campbell, RN, MN, GNC (C), CGNA President-elect, PEIGNA
Julie Rubel, RN, MScN, GNC (C), CGNA Director of Communication, GNAO
Lillian Hung, RN, PhD, GNC (C), CGNA Director of Education, GNABC
Michelle Heyer, RN, MN, GNC (C), CGNA Treasurer, GNAO
Joyce Taekema, RN, MN, GNC (C), CGNA Secretary, GNABC

Website Builder