This content origi­nally appeared in the Spring/​Summer 2020 issue (PDF) of The Washington Nurse magazine.

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Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN

Our front-line nurses in emergency depart­ments, urgent care facil­i­ties, hospital units and triage areas have stepped up to care for our patients and each other during the national emergency of the coron­avirus. This is a crisis unlike any we have faced in our lifetimes – a global pandemic. It has stressed our health care system and is forcing nurses to work in ways that go against so much that we have been taught about infec­tion control.

WSNA leader­ship has been coordi­nating the response to COVID-19 with Washington’s Depart­ment of Health, local public health juris­dic­tions and, of course, our members. We have been working tirelessly with federal and state partners, and we’re advocating for your needs with employers. WSNA is working to provide nurses with the most up-to-date answers to frequently asked questions and connecting you with resources. We will continue to support and encourage each other.

Our long-term care commu­ni­ties have taken a big hit, and we want to support you, our colleagues and health care providers in this arena. Long-term care nursing is a growing sector, and WSNA is committed to furthering and supporting regis­tered nurses working in long-term care. This issue of The Washington Nurse includes a section on long-term care nursing practice. I am excited that WSNA is taking the lead on educating members about the contri­bu­tions our commu­nity-based and long-term care providers make to their residents, their profes­sion and the commu­nity. Our nurses have the respon­si­bility and challenge to promote health and wellbeing and prevent illness and injury of the older adult and disabled child. They are dedicated to the families and other caregivers.

Long-term care covers many different care settings, including skilled nursing facil­i­ties, assisted living commu­ni­ties, adult family homes and pediatric long-term care. It is a sector that continues to grow as people look for commu­nity-based options that meet their medical care and assisted living needs.

We all know these commu­ni­ties, which have skilled and profes­sional nurses, are a neces­sary link in the continuum of care. The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion has estab­lished a task force to study commu­nity-based and long-term care issues. This work began before the coron­avirus pandemic hit and will continue after we have responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

We honor the nurses in long-term care facil­i­ties, public and commu­nity health, and hospi­tals around the state who are working on the front lines of the crisis in these challenging times.

Thank you for all each and every one of you does every day to care for patients and communities.

YES — Nurses Make a Difference!

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Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN
WSNA President