Rooftop celebration for ANTHC nurses is moment of joy after two tough years

One of the many booths healthcare workers were able to visit at the carnival.
One of the various cubicles healthcare staff had been capable of go to on the ANTHC nurses week carnival. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

Nurses stood in line ready for popcorn on a sunny Wednesday afternoon atop a parking storage on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. It was one among roughly a dozen colourful cubicles on the carnival — a part of the consortium’s weeklong celebration of it nursing employees for National Nurses Week. It additionally had organized hikes and pizza events.

Mary Martin is president of ANTHC’s nursing employees and is the occasion’s major organizer. After two years of getting to put on masks and different protecting gear round one another, she mentioned, seeing the grins of her fellow nurses is a pleasure.

“Oh man, it’s amazing,” Martin mentioned. “It’s just outstanding. People are laughing, having fun. Just… the energy is high. And it’s a beautiful day. The sunshine is just making everybody happy, with all the sweets.” 

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Near the popcorn, one other sales space buzzed with the whirring of a cotton sweet maker that crammed the rooftop with an air of faint sweetness. 

The light-hearted carnival is a far cry from the extreme days that Anchorage nursing employees needed to endure over the previous two years — wading via spikes in COVID-19 instances, extreme sickness and loss of life. Sometimes, they had been the one supply of consolation for his or her sufferers. 

A throwing game at the carnival that is part of nurses week.
A throwing sport at an ANTHC carnival that’s a part of nurses week. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

Jacque Quantrille is director of nursing for the Intensive Care Unit at ANTHC. She mentioned when the CDC issued pointers barring folks from visiting sufferers, it left some with out their household of their last moments. 

“Where you would have someone in end-of-life needing, wanting their family by them, we weren’t able to facilitate that always, and so that put nurses at the bedside during end-of-life,” Quantrille mentioned.

Healthcare workers paint tiles at a carnival as a part of nurses week.
ANTHC well being care staff paint tiles at a carnival as part of nurses week. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

One manner ANTHC has tried to maintain their nursing employees in excessive spirits was to throw a number of “Crafternoon” periods the place nurses might depart their hectic workplaces, and focus their minds on meditative arts and crafts. At a sales space on the carnival, Caitlin Loewen walked nurses via make ornamental tiles by portray after which including rubbing alcohol to make distinct patterns. 

“It’s really meant to be a reflective moment for our staff to take away from their bedside, or away from their units, to use their creative minds and be with other people in a different setting,” Loewen mentioned. “And to get to make something beautiful to take away from this environment for themselves.”

In addition to the heavy workload, ER nurses like Marcie Gest mentioned it was additionally disheartening to listen to from individuals who weren’t taking the pandemic as significantly as well being officers. She obtained apathy at greatest and insults at worst. It additionally didn’t assist that employees had been stretched skinny, she mentioned.

“It’s been very trying,” she mentioned. “There’s been shortages everywhere, like for nursing and doctors and CNAs and respiratory and housekeeping and everybody that it takes to run a hospital.”

A healthcare worker prepares to throw a pie at a carnival as a part of nurses week.
A healthcare employee prepares to throw a pie at ER nurse Marcie Gest as a part of the ANTHC nurses week carnival. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

You wouldn’t know the way making an attempt the final two years had been from watching Gest smile and encourage folks to attempt to hit her within the face with a pie. Her sales space produced laughs and cheers as contestants walked up, took goal and despatched a plate of whipped cream her manner.

While the pandemic is ongoing, and COVID-19 instances proceed to pop up in Alaska, it’s gotten to some extent the place for one sunny day, nurses might chill out, meet with colleagues, take pleasure in some treats and, if their goal was good, hit their boss with a whipped cream pie.

Painted tiles at the carnival celebrating nurses week.
Painted tiles on the ANTHC carnival celebrating nurses week. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)
Healthcare workers throwing pies at the carnival for nurses week.
Healthcare staff throw pies on the ANTHC carnival for nurses week. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

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