Look for the Helpers

by Justin Triemstra

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,

my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.

You will always find people who are helping.’”

                                                                                                                                                   -Fred Rogers

Scary things in the news…

Look for the helpers…

You will always find people who are helping…

These 3 phrases could not be more descriptive of our current world, nation, state, city, and health systems. We have all seen the scary things in the news over the past 3 months and have watched our colleagues care for the ill and vulnerable who have been affected by this pandemic. At first, it seemed like a distant threat, yet, we all knew it would come to our institutions in time.

New York City, Seattle, New Orleans, Detroit, and countless other cities have already seen the waves this pandemic can bring to a community. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the pandemic has now reached our doorstep. Our frontline colleagues have begun to see the first set of ripples, and now, we all wait for the waves that may follow.

This period of waiting brings out emotions of nervousness of what is to come, worry about whether we as health care providers will get infected or even worse, bring it home to our loved ones, or fear over the possible lack and rationing of PPE.

Nonetheless, we know our helpers have begun helping. Nurses. Physicians. Advanced Practice Providers. Respiratory therapists. Physical Therapists. Occupational Therapists. Speech Therapists. Patient Care Technicians. Pharmacists. EMT’s. Social Workers. Pastoral Care. Medical Assistants. Environmental Services. Food Services. Operation staff and leaders. And all other health care workers are being the helpers.

So, when we hear (or see) scary things in the news (or in the hospital), look for our helpers (colleagues) because you will always find (your friends) who are helping.

Justin D. Triemstra, MD, FAAP is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Human Development and Associate Program Director and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

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