Updated: Apr 1, 2021
By Diem Pham and Michael Ross, Founding Partners, ROAMcare
It seemed March sneaked in almost unnoticed and turned up the brightness of what felt like an optimistically early Spring. Although still far from the “old normal,” we might be emerging from the stark “new normal” that has been the bane of our existence under COVID19. Yet still we find ourselves facing new highly infectious variants. If the pandemic has not induced enough fear, recent outbreaks of violence and mass shootings certainly made us pause. We sacrificed so much to protect each other battling the novel coronavirus yet the silent discrimination that has persisted throughout our history has not been eradicated.
Just a year ago, our major concern was to take extra effort to protect ourselves, each other, and our communities. We diligently changed our habits to practice good hand hygiene and self-care, observe social distancing and properly wear face masks. Now, our culture of safety is threatened by more than a microscopic enemy. For everything that our modern world gives us, from the highest standards of living to the best technology and medical research, it cannot shield us from the villainy of evil. Our own health and safety are not guaranteed. We cannot take our health, our family and friends, or our community for granted. We cannot take our lives for granted.
This year is delivering the same message that 2020 spoke loudly and clearly. Life is fragile. If we are to survive we must cherish this precious life. We are not self-sufficient nor are we independent. While we all have seen how we are not invulnerable to the cruelty of disease, we must remember that any one of us may also fall to the viciousness of discrimination’s patterns of abuse and harassment, the brutalities of random acts of violence, or the harshness of poor judgements. What happens to each one of us affects all of us. We are interdependent. We need each other. We are a part of a whole, all here together. We thrive when we show kindness and compassion to ourselves and each other. We all desire a peaceful, safe, and happy life. We want to thrive, not just survive.
Over the last year of uncertainties, we renewed our commitments as healthcare professionals and caregivers. We made it a greater priority to protect the health and well-being of not only our patients, but also to maintain a healthy environment for our colleagues, our team members, ourselves, and our families. We strengthened our teamwork, shared experiences and resources, and supported each other to build immunity to the viral outbreak. Our shared values of integrity, compassion, collaboration, and respect in all we do lay the foundation for our career choice. Yet, we must do more to eliminate the biases that exist. We must not have to endure or tolerate or allow such hatred to each other to continue to be perpetrated.
As much of society is venting frustration through protests, and at times violent outbursts, we are called on more than ever, to model equitable compassionate care. As caregivers, we dedicate our lives to serve the health and well-being of all patients and their families, sometimes at the risk to our own lives. Our responsibilities surpass routine medical treatment; we extend ourselves to offer healing and to alleviate pain and suffering through human connection and care. But it is easier to recognize and treat physical wounds than it is to heal the emotional and psychological pain. Just as we have stepped up to battle COVID19, we can rise to the bravery it takes to recognize and eliminate the disparity and hatred that also exist.
We, ourselves, are the best medicine in a world that is suffering.