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NMC Health honors those impacted by COVID-19

Too many gone, too many impacted. COVID-19 and the devastating effects it causes aren’t lost on those in the healthcare industry. We aren’t numb to the pain of grieving families. What we are is scarred; we are exhausted; and we are hesitant but optimistically looking towards the future. What we won’t do is forget.

At a special ceremony at NMC Health, our staff gathered to take a moment to reflect on the past 21 months of hardships.

“As I look out upon this particular crowd who are gathered in remembrance, I can see your eyes and your eyes tell everything as they always do. I know that your burdens have been doubled, quadrupled, quintupled. Your burdens have been not only for yourself. Your concern about what you’re doing, how it is to be done, how to do it in the best way possible every minute of the day, which is the usual way that our NMC employees come to work. But your burden has been amplified by suffering,” the president and CEO of NMC Health, Val Gleason, shared.

“You’ve held each other, you’ve suffered with each other and you’ve supported each other, which is what we do. It’s the essence of who we are. And so today we’re going to stop and pause for a few minutes in remembrance and in honor.”

What started as an idea from a staff member turned into a memorial; we need to find a way to support those impacted by COVID-19 with a place to find peace.

NMC Health’s Associate Chief Nursing Officer Emily Newhouse shared the hospital wanted to create a space that everyone could visit to reflect and remember those that have been lost and those that were saved.

“Not only does this memorial honor our patients, but it also honors the love and commitment that NMC Health employees have to their patients and their patient’s families,” Newhouse said.

The new bench will overlook the beautiful pond on the NMC Health campus. This happens be nearest the hospital wing where COVID-19 patients are cared for.

At the ceremony, it became well known that it was staff who worked hand in hand with COVID-19 patients who had the idea to create a memorial bench.

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“For our direct care staff at NMC Health, this bench represents a time to reflect on the past, but yet contemplate the future. The illness COVID has transformed what health care looks like. Health care providers will be continuing to provide bedside care for persons afflicted with this disease for many years to come. Contemplation allows them the opportunity to reflect on the past, yet plan for future patients that will entrust their care to the gentle and competent clinical, skilled hands of NMC Health clinical caregivers,” said Heather Porter, Chief Clinical Officer at NMC Health.

There were tears and memories of the most difficult times hospital face staff, but there were also success stories shared.

“I just wanted to say I found it really beautiful when a COVID patient was discharged and teammates from all of our units lined the hallways and sent them on their way,” said one nurse.

“It’s been a long, difficult journey,” share another nurse. “All of us care for these patients. It’s difficult and every one of you are appreciated for doing things that maybe aren’t something that you normally would be doing. And it’s so appreciated.”

Too an entire nation, we stand by those effected by COVID-19. We will do what we always have, help those in need.

"There was a lot of love for those patients that didn't make it," shared Mary K., a respiratory therapist. She described a night in the critical care unit where she witnessed a nurse going above and beyond for a patient. As Mary described it: someone was caring for this person, someone was showing them love and comfort in their most critical time of need. It brought out a moment in humanity that proved good does exist.

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