Support Our Scrubs: this year, Nurses Week calls for more than pizza

Five years in a row, when Nurses Week arrived, we sent out pizza. Lots of it! Nurses around the country received free pizza deliveries from NurseRecruiter.com.

But this year, everything is different.

Nurses Week 2020: how NurseRecruiter.com supports nurses

The Coronavirus crisis has torn up our normal lives and left us scrambling to shape new ones. Many of you are bravely facing down Covid-19 on the frontlines, sometimes even trekking across the country to do so. But we also know that others among you have been left at home as hospitals furloughed nurses when elective surgeries were postponed and revenue dried up. Those of you working on non-Covid units, meanwhile, have to confront ever-changing conditions and unfamiliar restrictions.

It’s not been easy for anyone. So this year all of us deserve some kindness, some comfort, and some real support. Just pizza won’t do!

Support our scrubs!

That’s why we are doing other things this Nurses Week instead. A bunch of them! And we are not going it alone. If these times teach us anything, it’s that we’re all in this together and we have to invest in strengthening communities. That’s why we are supporting nurses and nurse families who launched their own initiatives to help their peers in this hour of need.

First of all, we are partnering with the wonderful Support Our Scrubs, founded just a few weeks ago by Crystella McIvor, the tireless mom of a nurse who works on the frontlines. With our donation, her organization will provide nurses at UT Southwestern Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, with 150 individually packaged meals. And not just any meals: the steak, chicken and vegan fajitas will be prepared by the father-and-son chefs at Beto & Son, who featured in the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. So it will definitely be tastier as well as safer than sharing delivery pizza!

Photo: "Thank you Nurse Recruiter!"
Update: the nurses at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas received the meals and gifts. We’re so glad to have added a smile to their day!

To lift spirits as well as fill stomachs, we are also working with Support Our Scrubs to present the 75 nurses there with a thoughtful gift. And don’t worry, it’s not some surplus lanyards with our logo, we know better than that! We made sure to inquire in advance about what they would like, and we think the children they care for will love it too. More details below!

We hear you, though: when health care workers are battling the Coronavirus without the protective equipment they desperately need, more is needed than food and cute gifts. That’s why NurseRecruiter.com has also supported the work of the Society of Nurse Scientists Innovators Entrepreneurs & Leaders (SONSIEL) to provide healthcare workers with PPE.

We are not going it alone. If these times teach us anything, it’s that we’re all in this together… That’s why we are supporting nurses and nurse families who launched their own initiatives to help their peers in this hour of need.

Finally, we want to reward nurses from around the country who are eager to step forward and tell us something about their experience, and not just with hero-themed memes or applause. That’s why we are also presenting a new edition of our nurse photo contest. Each winner will receive $100, and as long as we keep getting enough entries, we will keep selecting winners!

Feeding nurses and supporting businesses

Like any mother of a nurse, Crystella McIvor followed the news with alarm as the Coronavirus pandemic spread across the United States. But she is not one to wait and watch as hospitals in her home town are flooded with Covid-19 patients and the economy flounders. She decided to do something about it. Rather than feed her anxieties, she would feed health care workers — and help local businesses in the process.

Photo: Support Our Scrubs meal delivery
When friends and neighbours donate special meals, the kindness means at least as much as the food. Photo: Support Our Scrubs

Crystella launched Support Our Scrubs only just over a month ago, with the mission to help the medical frontline heroes who “are putting their own health and that of their families on the line every day”. But she soon realized the initiative could tie together several causes at once. Feeding and supporting the medical community. Helping local restaurants and businesses keep their doors open. And providing eager volunteers in the Dallas area with a way to help from the confines of their own homes. “My number 1 goal from day one has been to help as many people as I can,” she says.

Providing doctors and nurses at local hospitals with lunches, snacks or treats doesn’t just keep them fed on hectic work days, Crystella believes: “a simple meal can let them know we care”. She started off covering the costs from her own funds, but her infectious enthusiasm soon pulled in more people and online donations. Now, Support Our Scrubs is delivering 600 meals every week to a nearby hospital — and there are more. They are delivering over 700 meals to several further hospitals next week alone.

Photo: Support Our Scrubs gets snacks to nurses
Support Our Scrubs brings local businesses and nurses together

All this food is sourced from local businesses. Donors and volunteers have been reaching out to local restaurants to ask them to take part, offering to sponsor meals. Restaurants and cafes that were eager to help have responded by offering discounts or matching donations. Volunteers and the local church community help with picking up and delivering donations or preparing their own thrive baskets full of treats. You can help too!

“I work closely with nurses, hospitals, business owners and chambers of commerce in multiple cities,” Crystella says, and “it has been an incredible experience to have been able to play a small part in helping many people”. But she doesn’t just want to feed nurses, she wants to give them a space to share their stories too, and create a place to celebrate the work they do. That’s why she launched the Faces of the Frontlines Facebook page and group (and it’s on Instagram too). She even launched an additional Facebook page (and Instagram account) for other Moms of Nurses!

We Support “Support Our Scrubs”

NurseRecruiter.com decided to help Support Our Scrubs to, as Crystella puts it, “spread kindness, positivity, cheer and hope”. With our donation, Support Our Scrubs will deliver 150 meals to nurses and other healthcare workers from eight units at UT Southwestern Children’s Medical Center in Dallas during this Nurses Week. (Important point of order: the meals will be delivered to both day and night shift nurses! Because we know how fed up you night nurses are with finding leftovers and empty boxes…)

Photo: Nurses at Children's Medical Center with our Nurses Week gifts
A cartload full! The nurses at Children’s Medical Center received our Nurses Week gifts 🙂

The pandemic affects the work of all nurses, on and off the frontlines, and those at the pediatric hospital are no exception. They are having to fill multiple roles now that visitors are not allowed in anymore, not even parents or guardians, and most of the administrative and support staff are at home. On top of that, like their colleagues elsewhere, they are facing an acute shortage of essential PPE.

In any other year, administrators at the Children’s Medical Center would organize special Nurses Week events at the hospital, but the Coronavirus crisis is enough to overwhelm anyone’s capacities, so Support Our Scrubs is coming to their aid. Crystella did some research to find out what kind of gift the nurses there would appreciate most, and put our donation to good use by ordering 75 playful badge reel holders as Nurses Week gifts to go with the nourishing meals.

Photo: playful badge reels for pediatric nurses
See? Not lanyards! Fun for both nurses and patients at UT Southwestern Children’s Medical Center

They are adorable and we think that both the nurses and the children they care for will love them! “With all the nurses needing to wear masks and the kiddos they care for unable to see their beautiful smiles and faces,” Crystella explains, “we hope these cheerful badge reels will help the kids feel just a little bit better, calmer and more relaxed”. That’s not all, either: the gift bags will also include headbands, to help all the nurses whose ears are hurting because of wearing masks all day.

We would like to invite you to participate as well. If you live in or near Dallas, Texas, do get in touch with Crystella about how you can help! If you want to contribute to efforts to provide nurses with PPE, we list a range of initiatives in our blog post about our SONSIEL donation. If you would like to help us show the real face of nursing and gain an opportunity to win $100, take part in our photo contest. Nurses deserve to be seen!

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