Nurses, Our Families, and COVID-19
Published: 16 April 2020
Published: 16 April 2020
As a nurse, you may work in a patient-facing position that brings you into potential direct contact with COVID-19, the pandemic that has swept the globe and caused astronomical suffering and disruption to every conceivable level of human life.
The disruption and suffering increase exponentially on a daily basis, and you and many of your fellow nurses are on the front lines, regardless of whether you feel personally safe or not. This is the moral basis of nursing – to serve and give in the interest of others even when facing great risk and peril.
With every surface a potential petri dish and every person you encounter a possible carrier of this rampant viral enemy, how can you leave work, return home, and protect your family without feeling like a pariah?
First and foremost, the best practices for keeping your family and other loved ones safe when you return home from work is to follow all COVID-19 hygiene guidelines set forth by the trustworthy, evidence-based authorities. You may also turn to your employer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other credible sources (Read: COVID-19 Resource List for Healthcare Workers). You can use your keen nursing mind and critical thinking to make the best choices.
You must remain acutely aware of misinformation. Misleading websites, clickbait, conspiracy theories and false cures and treatments all contribute to a dangerous information war meant to confuse, separate and mislead us. Even healthcare professionals can fall prey to pseudoscientific resources that claim to be reliable and trustworthy, especially when they are feeling frightened.
Evidence-based information from trusted sources is your weapon of choice in keeping you and your loved ones safe. With the right data and strategies, you can avoid being a vector of disease when you walk through the door of your home and into the embrace of concerned family members.
One of your first strategies in keeping everyone safe at home is to have open communication and ongoing discussion. You may want to consider the following:
Common sense and evidence-based information will help you keep your family safe and will hopefully reduce their feelings of alarm and vulnerability, although understandably, some fears will likely remain. After all, our world and society have abruptly shifted beyond the scope of most living people’s experiences.
Be circumspect, think critically, listen to your family, respond calmly and trust the sources that offer the most salient and reliable data, and practice in the interest of your own and your cherished loved ones’ health.