Shared responsibilities in our return to campus

By Holly Crowe (2021-09-29)

When I happily took up the task of finding a nursing faculty member to assist in writing an article about their thoughts on returning to campus, for this month’s Faculty Forum, I didn’t think twice.  I thought this would be easy to do.

Instead, what I found was a pervasive feeling of “lack of time”, a sense of trepidation around saying what was actually on their mind and general confusion about mixed or unclear messaging coming from multiple sources. Some colleagues even sought legal counsel and consequently made the decision not to comment for fear of repercussions.

Concerns about our return-to-campus bounce to safety in the halls and our classrooms, to personal boundaries and assumption of risk, to accommodating the learning needs of students both in-person and online and trusting our colleagues and students to be honest and truthful about vaccination status as well as symptoms of illness. 

How can we embrace a “thrive mind-set” when what we have been doing for the past 18 months is just trying to survive?   How can we model, for our students, that resilience is a skill we all need to continuously develop?  How can we all stay safe and healthy in the face of such diverse information and a virus that is here to stay?

A colleague who teaches in the BN program shared the following 5 ideas about our individual and shared responsibilities:

  1. Follow the science.
  2. Ask questions.
  3. Call attention to gaps in guidelines and policies.
  4. Promote public health & safety (words + actions).
  5. Show outward compassion for the most vulnerable people in any place or space.

(Source: J, Lehman RN, MScN)           

While all of these actions are vital, relevant and easily actionable, I draw your attention especially to  number 5.  Our ability to show compassion is what makes us human.  Most importantly, please remember to show compassion to yourself.  You are not alone, what you are feeling and experiencing is felt by your colleagues and by showing compassion to ourselves and others we CAN learn to thrive in this uncertain and tumultuous world we live in.