Nurses Week Takes on New Meaning During COVID-19 Crisis

By: Sonya Ferris, Enterprise Communications

National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6 - 12, in honor of the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Intended to recognize the vital role nurses play in health care, it’s especially poignant this year in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

It’s fitting that the theme for the week is “Compassion, Expertise, Trust.”

Shortly after stay-at-home orders were given in Florida, nurses across GuideWell put their compassion and expertise into action as they kicked off an initiative to provide special care to our most vulnerable members.

In an extensive outreach effort, our Onlife Health Coaches and Registered Nurses from the Florida Blue Centers, Medicare, our Places of Delivery model (PODs), and our Better You Registered Nurse Health Coaching Program began reaching out to members with multiple chronic conditions that put them at higher risk for serious complications if they contract COVID-19.

Kerry Bean, Better You RN Health Coach, learned firsthand how much these calls mean to our members.

Anna’s Story

Like many people Kerry would be calling that day, Anna* (*name changed to protect the member’s identity) was living with a serious chronic health condition that made her especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

The 49-year-old Fort Myers resident was pleasantly surprised when she picked up the phone. On the other end was a caring nurse from Florida Blue reaching out just to check on her.

Kerry first went over the CDC’s guidelines to make sure Anna knew how to stay healthy during the pandemic, and what to do if she had symptoms.

She also verified that Anna was continuing to get the care she needed to manage her cardiovascular disease. Since many medical offices currently have limited hours, Kerry reviewed how to use Teledoc—so that Anna would be ready just in case there was ever a need. She also made sure Anna had plenty of medication and knew how to obtain refills without risking exposure.

Anna indicated that she lived alone, so Kerry inquired whether she had options to get food, supplies and social support. Thankfully, Anna’s adult son lived nearby and regularly brought her necessities so she could stay safely at home. She also shared that she had a beloved cat that was a great source of comfort and companionship for her.

Before they ended their conversation, Kerry made sure that Anna had her phone number and encouraged her to call should she need anything. She never expected what happened next.

Later that day, Kerry checked her voicemail and found this message from Anna.

“It means so much to our members to hear a trusted voice that truly cares,” says Kerry. “I am one of the many nurses who reach out to our members every day—both before the pandemic and now during it—to use our expertise to assist members with their health needs and also provide a little kindness and compassion when they need it most.”

At GuideWell, we’re always proud of the dedication and commitment of our nurses. As we celebrate National Nurses Week, we want to give special thanks as they make sure members with severely compromised health and obstacles to care stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

Perhaps no one could say it better than Kerry herself. “Our team is happy to be part of this member outreach campaign,” she says. “It really lets us show members the heart of GuideWell.”