Rochester Regional Health nurses start support group for each other: ‘We’ve had to band together’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — May 6 through May 12 marks Nurses’ Week. To raise awareness, nurses at Rochester Regional Health are sharing some of the ways they’ve been banding together in this pandemic.

“Nursing is a team sport, ” said Judy Cushman, Nursing Program Manager. “But nobody imagined how it would be for the last 14 months.”

Cushman says the life of a nurse changed completely the minute the pandemic hit. Battling multiple surges – traumatic for some. Often times patients are also unable to see family members due to restrictions, causing nurses to step up in ways they never expected for emotional support.

“They also became these individuals family members, their mothers, fathers brothers, spouses,” said Cushman.

And playing so many roles at once takes a huge emotional toll. Cushman says they needed a place to sit down and talk about it – any time of the day. That’s when she started a Zoom support group for nurses in March. Any time of day – 7 a.m., noon, midnight – wherever there was a need.

“It was very obvious that there was something needed,” she said.

Classic ideas like journaling, eating well and exercising – weren’t cutting it. Cushman researched beyond these options – and found what nurses needed the most was each other and dialogue. To hear what other nurses were going through.

The zoom support sessions aimed to do just that.

Elizabeth Duxcury is a lead clinical nurse specialist. She says banding together like this – built a sense of strength. “We feel very alone, but we are all in it together, by doing these sessions it makes us really feel like we are in it together.”

And only talk – when you’re ready to talk.

“Asking that permission, do you want to talk about it, do you want me to talk about it,” said Duxcury.

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