This past year has challenged us, frightened us, and caused us stress and anxiety. But the one constant sign of hope has been the incredible frontline staff who show up, advocate for and provide hands-on care to our residents, clients and patients in our health care system (hospitals, home care, and long-term care facilities), retirement homes, group homes and private care homes.
Our members work in the following family of nursing classifications: Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs), Personal Support Staff, and Direct Care Workers.
We have called them ‘essential’, ‘heroes’, ‘angels’…but they are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, daughters, and sons who stepped forward in a crisis to provide calm and a level of professional care that is second to none. They have shared our losses, our sorrows, and our joys. They have answered our questions, provided information and guidance, and stayed to piece us back together when we have been shattered by grief.
Their dedication, professionalism and skill have supported a health care system that has groaned under the strain of a pandemic. They put themselves at risk to keep us safe. The work they do is hands-on, personal, and intimate. It is physically, emotionally and mentally intense at the best of times, but during this pandemic, they set aside their own fears, concerns and even their families to be a presence for families, patients, clients, staff and their coworkers. They literally face the daily threat of COVID-19 to do what is best for those in need of care.
No one could have known or predicted this past year. And as we try to come out from under a pandemic, they remain on the job to reach out to those in vulnerable health situations without judgement or question.
They didn’t get preferential treatment.
They are suffering from exhaustion and burn-out…and still they show up and stand out for facing this battle against COVID-19 from the frontline. They do all this and advocate for the end of understaffing in our public health care system which will ensure they can provide the care necessary to improve the health and quality of life for all in Saskatchewan.
We all share in the responsibility to do our part and follow the public health orders. Wear your mask. (Yes, you really can breathe with it on; these frontline staff are required to wear a mask for eight, 12, 16 and sometimes 20 hours in a row!) Wash your hands frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds. Stay home whenever possible and stay physically distanced when you are out.
It’s this group of tremendous individuals that has set aside so much in their personal lives to manage daily care needs during this pandemic, along with the rest of the health care provider team. Find out more about your public health care team of frontline heroes at PurpleWorks.ca.
On behalf of SEIU-West, I want to thank all members of the nursing team for their incredible knowledge, skill, and compassionate care.
President of SEIU-West