ICU nurse says ‘the best thank you is to stay home’

(BOSTON) — It was “sheer emotion” that prompted Stephanie Weinwurm, an intensive care unit nurse from Westborough, Massachusetts, who works at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, to write a heartfelt Facebook post begging people to stay home.

“I had just gotten off three 12-hour shifts in a row,” she told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “I came home deflated and scared for the first time in my 20 plus years of nursing. Scared for the patients, scared that I might bring this home to our son, scared for my peers and the general public at large. For the first time in my career, I felt myself shaken.”

And then, as she scrolled through social media and saw some of the “flippant attitudes toward this crisis,” the words just came out.

She wrote in part, “I know many of you are affected in countless ways; missed opportunities for sports, cancelled weddings, postponements of special events, school, financial and household burdens, inconveniences…and..and. And, while they may pale in comparison to death; they matter. And I’m sorry.”

“I have been offended by many of the posts and flippant attitudes in regards to this crisis who seemingly became Epidemiology and Infectious disease experts overnight,” Weinwurm continued. “I have concurrently been inspired by so many acts of good will and selflessness by those who ‘get it.'”

“This isn’t about me. This isn’t about you. This is about ALL of us! You sitting “this one out” and being compliant could mean the difference of life for someone else,” she added.

Weinwurm told GMA she was “panicked” to think how a casual attitude towards the effects of the novel coronavirus might worsen the situation.

“I spoke freely about what we were experiencing behind closed doors at the ICU level of care. These are obviously the sickest of the sick … and without seeing it, it’s hard to imagine,” she said. “It bothered me to see someone liken this to a hoax or the flu when these people were fighting for their lives.”

The responses to her post, she said, were supportive, kind and thankful. But that’s not quite what those on the front lines need right now.

“I think I speak accurately when I share back that, nurses, as a collective group, don’t need thank yous,” Weinwurm said. “While appreciated, the best ‘thank you’ you can give us is to stay home, flatten the curve and educate yourself via the experts in this field. To help the greater good starts at home. You want to effect change, start at home.”

And of course, the proper tools to do their jobs safely.

“Without them, we can’t fix anything. We need to stay well and be confident that we can deliver the best care,” she said. “The world is a much better place when we make the unselfish choice to help others. Even when it’s inconvenient and unpopular. ”

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