HealthMay 27, 2020

Community engagement in a pandemic: Staying connected is more important than ever

The last week of Nurse's Month focuses on "community engagement". Engaging the community is a valuable way to educate the public on what nurses do, to recognize the contributions of the current nursing workforce, and to inspire future generations of nurses. In addition, we know that many members of our community are feeling isolated, stressed, and anxious. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we examine our community engagement efforts to identify what can be improved to meet the needs of our patients and nurses alike during this unprecedented time.

Traditionally, in recognition of Nurses Week, many facilities hosted in-person events and invited members of the community to celebrate the nursing staff. This year social distancing mandates necessitate that we develop creative ways to engage virtually in the communities where we live and practice. Here are some ideas to involve and support the community in the celebration of Nurses Month during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Social media campaigns

Now is the perfect time to enhance your facility's social media channels and incorporate "shout-outs" or other forms of recognition to your nurses. If your facility normally gives awards during Nurses week, continue that process and post the results online. Incorporate videos, bios, and coworker tributes. Remember to include resources for nurses that focus on mental well-being and psychological health. Use social media to celebrate and support the nursing staff who are rising to the challenges they are faced with. Remember to always use social media professionally, never include patient information, and to respect privacy. For ideas and tips on developing your facility's social media visit nursingworld.org/social.

Virtual community events

Continue to care for the community you serve by hosting community events virtually that align with the mission of your facility. Incorporate guidance on navigating healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic, including topics such as infection prevention tips, when to call your doctor, when to come to the emergency department, and how to access telemedicine. Provide resources for stress management and coping with the challenges of the pandemic. Let the community know that your facility and its nurses are still present and dedicated to meeting their needs. Record the event and post it to your hospital's website.

Establish partnerships

Consider reaching out to local businesses or organizations to form essential partnerships focused on fundraising, charity events, and the promotion of shared goals in the community. Businesses may even agree to provide discounts on goods or services to nurses during this time or to assist with aspects of your social media campaign. Utilize your facility's marketing department to assist with developing a strategic plan to align with the professional practice model for nursing at your facility.

No matter what ideas you put forward this year, remember the importance of the work that is being done. Approach community engagement with an open mind, and you may find that the results are more impactful than the traditional celebration you hosted last year.

Let us know how you are continuing community engagement at your facility!

Lippincott Solutions note: for the latest coverage on Covid-19 by the Lippincott Nursing team, please visit nursingcenter.com/coronavirus.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fmanaging-stress-anxiety.html#community

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

About the author

Katie Manoy, MSN, RN, CPNP, Clinical Editor, Lippincott Solutions, is a nurse with 17 years of pediatric nursing experience, including 10 years of pediatric intensive care experience, and five years in nursing education. She develops and edits clinical content for Lippincott Procedures.

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