As challenging as COVID-19 was during 2020, our shared experience speaks volumes about the strength of our community and local health care system. Stephens care team members, from those who work directly with patients to those in support roles, showed that they are fully committed to our community – especially when needed most. And the local community was clearly just as committed to supporting our efforts.
In the earliest days of the pandemic, when it looked like there might be shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, the community stepped up. Local businesses and individuals rallied to provide masks to ensure our team members would not go without. Many local businesses and individuals reached out with offers of other aid: coffee shop gift cards, food deliveries, and even sneaker donations. These gifts lifted our spirits and made us feel seen and supported.
People in our community also offered moral support with social media posts, signs of gratitude and words of encouragement. A young student and her grandmother hand-painted and delivered hundreds of colorful rocks with positive messages around the community and on the Stephens campus. These gestures of support gave meaning to our work and bolstered us through times of fear and uncertainty, strengthening our resolve to face daily challenges.
As we now work to vaccinate our communities, the challenge is not over. Difficult weeks and months remain ahead. But, we are forging a new path. Our visitor rules have been adjusted to protect patients, visitors and staff. Our check-in processes have changed. We wear masks and keep our distance while working together. And we have learned that we can tackle any problem because of our shared bond with each other and our community. As we move forward, we do so with a fresh perspective and as a stronger team.