How to show support for health care workers in Oklahoma City during COVID
A simple “thank you” is enough for Courtney Dooty, a registered nurse who works in Oklahoma City.
On a recent shift, a family member of a patient heard someone yell at Dooty and left the room with a few words for Dooty, “Thank you, and I appreciate you,” she recalled.
“It’s really just the ‘thank you. We’re here for you. See you ‘”that means a lot, said Dooty. “Even the smallest thing – thank you cards, especially from the kids – it’s really, really cute.”
More:Overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, Oklahoma nurses plead for people to get vaccinated
Dooty works at Integris Southwest Medical Center at the stroke and neurology level that sees “a little bit of everything and everything”. If hospitals are overloaded with COVID-19 patients, it affects everyone, she said, even the staff who work in other departments.
Healthcare workers have had tough times for nearly two years, with a wave of COVID-19 pushing them to their limits and exacerbating staff shortages as colleagues burn out and leave.
More:Oklahoma health officials are looking to a “more sustainable” phase of COVID-19 as cases decline
Even now that the number of cases in the state is no longer at the crisis level, the cases have not returned to the lows of the pre-delta variant. 402 Oklahomans died from COVID-19 in October alone, and that number is likely to rise due to delays in reporting.
Katie Robinson, 36, like many others, did not expect that she would still grapple with the pandemic after a year and a half.
For others who want to show their gratitude, she hopes to save some of the legwork. She has compiled information from Oklahoma City hospitals for those who wish to send thank you notes or arrange deliveries to their local hospital.
“It took phone calls and emails, but how easy is that compared to what these healthcare workers do?” Said Edmond’s Robinson. “I hope that maybe some people can be inspired to do this in their community with their local hospitals.”
Even now, as COVID-19 cases and hospital stays have slowed, Robinson encouraged others to keep healthcare workers on their toes.
“We were there – we had the downward trend, and then we went up again, right? This is all new territory for everyone and we just don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, ”said Robinson. “Whether it’s COVID-related, a car accident, a heart attack, or any other reason, we will of course all need medical staff to save either our own life or the life of a loved one.”
At Norman Regional Hospital and others, health care workers were flooded with statements of support at the start of the pandemic, said Erin Barnhart, executive director of the Norman Regional Health Foundation.
“The fact that someone is ready to move on – Katie herself isn’t tired, she’s not stopping, she just continues to show support – that means a lot,” said Barnhart. “This persistence of your support shows that our employees are still taking care of it.”
More:COVID-19 Vaccine Studies in Oklahoma Participants Including Young Children
As part of her effort, Robinson worked with Simply Sign It owner Celia Thomas to have courtyard signs delivered outside of nine Oklahoma City hospitals, including one where her daughter is caring for babies and mothers in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“[Health care workers] are first responders, ”said Thomas. “Without them there would be no pressure to bring things back to normal.”
Big or small gestures make sense, she said.
“Just send a message, send a letter, send a card,” Thomas said of her. “