This is part of a series of stories profiling members of the Niagara Health team and the work they are doing as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During National Nursing Week, we're highlighting how our nurses are giving back to the community.
Nurses have always been known for their compassionate, caring and giving nature. This week – National Nursing Week – is no exception, as Niagara Health nurses teamed up to donate money to support charitable organizations in our community.
Registered Practical Nurse Daniel Howie spearheaded donations on behalf of the Woolcott Wing at our Welland Site. The team raised $630 of the $2,100 donated today to Open Arms Mission in Welland, a drop-in centre for food and personal care. “This was our way of giving back to the community for all of the support they have shown to us," he says.
“Nurses Week is normally a one-week event where we celebrate our nursing team, but this year we knew things had to be different," says Patty Welychka, NH's Director Clinical Services, Surgical Services, Executive Lead and Chief Nursing Officer at our Welland and Port Colborne sites. “The community has been recognizing our nurses for the last 10 weeks during the pandemic, so giving back seemed like the only appropriate thing to do."
Our St. Catharines Site is directing donations online to Community Care, the Welland and Port Colborne sites are donating money to Open Arms Mission; Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls and Douglas Memorial Site in Fort Erie are donating to Project SHARE.
Other front-line teams including Environmental Services have jumped on board to join the nursing teams' fundraising efforts. The community has supported all of our teams – not just the nurses – so everyone wanted to give back," says Laura Morrison, Site Director, at our Douglas Memorial and Greater Niagara General sites.
Community giving is nothing new for Niagara Health. Our team members have been giving generously to charitable causes through our Workplace Acts of Kindness Challenge and other fundraising initiatives. Now, in a time of crisis, the community is returning this kindness by showing their support for our hard-working healthcare teams.
Niagara Health staff and physicians are receiving random acts of kindness on a daily basis including messages of hope, rocks of kindness, parades saluting our teams, donations of food, flowers, gift cards, personal protective equipment. What you may not know is that our team members have also been performing acts of kindness every day, including hanging framed Be Kind T-shirts on the walls, writing notes of kindness and virtually connecting patients with their loved ones.
Sandy Traynor, NH's Workplace Relations Manager, says before the pandemic, Niagara Health team members had completed 39,000 acts of kindness as part of our Acts of Kindness Workplace Challenge. While the challenge is not formally taking place right now, we are still seeing acts of kindness on a daily basis.
“In the last several weeks, we're seeing acts of kindness everywhere," says Sandy. “Everyone is paying it forward."