It’s no secret being a nurse these last 2 years through the pandemic has been a challenge. But at Akron Children’s, our nurses continue to rise to the occasion to meet the needs of our patients and families. Every day, they make a difference.
In celebration of national Nurses Week May 6-12, we asked a few of our nurses to reflect on the pandemic and share how they keep their passion for their jobs, as well as their hopes for the future of nursing.
Michelle Craver, infectious disease program nurse coordinator, has worked at Akron Children’s since 1988. She says her days are like a box of chocolates—each day brings a different taste.
Why do you stay in nursing? My passion for caring for children and their families has not wavered during the pandemic. But my desire to find new ways to help families navigate these challenges has grown. Our team has been a solid support for designing processes that ease the burdens of care that the pandemic has brought to our families and staff. It seems like the perfect storm. We have been able to rise to the challenges to continue the exceptional care that Akron Children’s is known for. Retreating has never entered my mind as an option. I am proud to be a nurse today more than ever.
What effect has the COVID pandemic had on you as a practicing nurse? The pandemic provided an opportunity to rapidly design and implement new processes to keep patients and families connected despite physical distancing. This came by using more frequent telephone follow-ups, telehealth visits, and expansion of EMR (electronic medical records) tools to support our patient’s health care needs along with work from home opportunities. It also allowed for continued professional development through virtual conference platforms. This helped to reduce organizational costs since no travel expenses were incurred.
What self-care routine or steps have you taken since the pandemic to help you deal with stress and avoid burnout? Infectious disease has always been a team-oriented division. This lends itself to well-balanced and exceptional patient care. We took time for fun and to pause. We played games, made sure we had snacks on hand and took time to simply “check in ” with one another each day. I personally use instrumental music and meditation to keep grounded in the now. I have learned there is great peace in living in the now.
Where do you see the future of nursing at Akron Children’s? I see a continued emphasis and expansion of nursing through purposeful and highly coordinated care. We will accomplish this through working with other departments, patients and families in schools and communities to promote the best health outcomes, manage disease conditions, maintain wellness and reduce barriers to care.
What aspect of your job are you most passionate about? I’m most passionate about treating each patient and family as if they were my own. I like to treat the whole person in body and mind. Ultimate wellness requires equal emphasis and balance in mind and body. It is very stressful to have a sick child. I strive to remove some of their stressors through being present, available, kind, compassionate and timely in each patient care task I provide.