Preface| Volume 58, ISSUE 1, Pxiii-xiv, March 2023

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Resilient Nurses Doing What Is Necessary to Protect Patients and Communities During COVID-19

Published:November 24, 2022DOI:
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      Kelly A. Wolgast, DNP, RN, FACHE, FAAN, Editor
      Nurses around the world absorbed the numerous impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic in all settings in which nurses lead and deliver care. In this issue of Nursing Clinics of North America, the focus is to highlight innovation, resilience, grit, perseverance, and lessons learned that emerged out of necessity as nurses quickly learned how to adapt to this dangerous novel virus. Nurses in current practice in various care settings and environments along with nurse educators and nursing students in all levels of educational programs were forced to navigate rapid changes in care requirements not experienced before in such magnitude.
      Disruptions during COVID-19 affected clinical environments, community care and outreach, social justice efforts, long-term care, traditional nursing education methods, and nursing research efforts, and strained long-standing nursing processes related to supporting and maintaining a healthy nursing workforce. The articles in this issue cover a spectrum of lessons learned to codify that learning for when we encounter the next global health emergency. Two of the articles presented by nurse educators share how they adapted learning environments for nursing faculty and students to maintain high-quality education activities while incorporating COVID-19 mitigations, such as physical distancing, masking, and rigorous disinfecting, in simulation centers of learning and in modified or restricted clinical experiences. Nurse educators also quickly adapted learning methodologies to online forums to minimize any delays in student progression. Nurse researcher colleagues share how they adopted alternative methods to continue important recruitment, enrollment, data collection, and timeline management for ongoing research efforts. Nurses providing care to vulnerable patients in long-term care, the population that bore disproportionate impact by the pandemic, discuss strategies to optimize function, health, and well-being through demonstrated extraordinary resilience. Health care leaders from the Pennsylvania Action Coalition present thoughts on practical strategies to promote diversity and social justice within nursing and health care, highlighting the impact from COVID-19, and importantly, the need for sustained focus on diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the nursing workforce. Colleagues in a free and charitable clinic present a success story in the volume of COVID-19 vaccination clinics that they were able to plan and execute with help from partnering local champions—demonstrating that with vision and leadership, population health response can be expansive. Technology innovations served to assist the nursing workforce during the pandemic. One article covers the development of a web-based solution to help nurses better locate and organize timely information on how to best care for patients and themselves. Nurses’ visibility in the media also gained spotlight attention at the national level in the United States. One article shares details about a social media campaign developed to raise the voices of nurses and promote nurses as reliable sources of information. Emphasizing the global reach of nursing, colleagues from South Africa contribute perspective on how best to document the lived experiences of nurses to call attention to the contributions and value of nurses and nursing to the world.
      All the authors who contributed to this issue experienced the pandemic in a different way and led efforts to ensure that the work they do in Nursing and with nurses made responsive changes as swiftly as possible to meet the dynamic conditions forced by the pandemic. Nurses around the world learned to apply every skill possible to determine and enact the very best solutions. I, for one, changed roles when selected to lead and direct the COVID-19 operations at The Pennsylvania State University, a land-grant, public research university with nearly 100,000 students from over 130 countries globally and 37,000 employees across 24 campuses. That work has continued for over 2½ years with an amazing team of Penn State professionals assisting me. As I was grounded by my experience in the US Army and by my foundational leadership experiences in nursing, health care, and academia, dedicating that level of effort in service as a nurse leader to my university community was and continues to be a great honor. I hope that this issue will inspire other nurses to write about their experiences from the pandemic so that we capture more of the lessons learned to share with those who follow in our nursing footsteps. Our lives and those of our patients, families, friends, neighbors, and communities are forever changed.