Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, on so many occasions, we have seen members of our communities in both Manchester and Nashua celebrate us as “health care heroes.” That support, in the form of cards, PPE donations, and meals, has helped inspire us to continue to care for our patients, their families, and each other during these unprecedented times.
But it is also important to be aware of the perceptions our community members have of us when we are outside of work.
The COVID-19 pandemic is top of mind in all areas of our lives, including our daily travels. Be it the weekly trip to the grocery store or the school pick-up and drop-off line, it is evident that community members are uneasy, even afraid. That unease can be amplified when those who do not work in the health care field see health care workers wearing scrubs or hospital uniforms outside of a health care setting. Fear of virus transmission from an off-duty health care worker can heighten unease and perhaps even result in confrontations.
At SolutionHealth, staff safety has always been just as much a priority as patient safety. It is more important than ever that we all be aware of our visibility outside of work.
Here are some simple reminders that can help prevent unwanted negative attention or escalated, confrontational situations both in and outside our organization:
- Avoid wearing scrubs or other health care-related uniforms outside of work. Doing so can send the wrong message to the public about how careful our care team is being about infection prevention.
- If you are wearing clothing that has any of our institution names on them outside of our walls, please be sure to wear a mask and follow all social distancing guidelines. The community looks to us to set an example.
- Do not engage in negative activity on social media. Your opinion is your opinion, but your network of friends and followers most likely knows you work in a health care institution. Your comments can be taken as representative of our organization. Any public commentary should be directed to the appropriate spokespeople within our organization. When in doubt, email Marketing@SolutionHealth.org.
- If you are ever concerned about your safety while on our campuses, please contact Security immediately.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear just how vital health care workers are to our communities,” says SolutionHealth System Chief Operating Officer Kelly Corbi. “But we cannot do our jobs if our safety is not a top priority. I urge all staff to play an active role in protecting themselves in and outside of work, and reach out to the resources within our organization when needed.”