Dear NOVA Members,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you for your bravery, compassion and resilience that you continue to demonstrate during the coronavirus global pandemic. Even though the presumptive and confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 keep climbing, the death toll is increasing, additional surges are expected, and there isn’t an effective antiviral therapy or safe vaccine at this point, your commitment to care for our Veterans is the priority. Therefore, your dedication, professionalism, and sacrifices deserve special recognition. To date, the Department of Veterans Affairs COVID-19 National Summary reports that nationally there have been 6,943 Veterans with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and 435 COVID-19 Veteran inpatient deaths.
All of us have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak on a personal and a professional level. Hopefully, we are heeding the current recommendations to prevent spreading the coronavirus by employing proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing face masks or cloth face covers in public to flatten the curve. Travel restrictions, closures of schools and nonessential businesses, and stay at home advisories are still in in effect. Many of us are also experiencing first-hand the concerns related to fear of exposure and transmission, lack of proper protective equipment (PPE), screening and testing, staffing shortages, and rapidly changing guidelines and policies. Life as we know it has changed. The uncertainties, loss of control, feelings of vulnerability, inability to be with loved ones during hospitalization due to visitor policy restrictions, delaying non-emergent medical appointments or surgeries, worries of becoming infected and transmitting the coronavirus to our family members and significant others, waiting for COVID test results, quarantine precautions and social isolation have become the new reality.
Many thanks to the NOVA members who completed the COVID-19 Survey and responded to the emails about COVID-19. The COVID-19 Survey results are linked below this article. I appreciate you taking the time to share your issues of concern and making your voices heard. Your feedback with your personal experiences is critical. As the COVID situation swiftly evolves, NOVA is tracking your responses and messages to the COVID-19 survey and emails to better understand the effects of the novel coronavirus. The national NOVA Board, Legislative Committee Chairpersons, Michelle Salazar and Cecilia McVey, with the Legislative Committee Members, and Teresa Morris, Director of Advocacy and Government Relations are diligently advocating for you; making sure that the House and Senate VA Committee staff and leaders of Veterans Service Organizations including the DAV, IAVA, PVA, VFW, and the Wounded Warrior Project know what is happening at VA facilities. Another COVID-19 survey will be coming out soon. Please know that NOVA remains vigilant in ensuring that the necessary proper protective equipment, screening tests, and other essential resources are available to protect you and the Veterans during the COVID-19 era. There is a COVID-19 Resources page with reliable references available on the NOVA website for you to utilize. It is important to have up-to-date resources with trusted, evidence-based information.
In closing, I truly value the exceptional care you provide to America’s heroes across this great nation. Your passion is always commendable, but your conviction and teamwork during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is truly exemplary. This is a challenging time but we will get through it together. In the meantime, implement strategies to sustain your health and mental well-being, as well as boost your immunity. Utilize COVID-19 prevention measures, be informed, maintain a balanced diet, exercise, sleep well, deep breathe, practice relaxation techniques and mindfulness activities, focus on the good and provide acts of kindness, keep socially connected and engaged virtually, and have a positive attitude. Stay healthy and safe!
Kelly D. Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN