Janet Tomcavage

As I visit our hospital campuses and speak with our health care workers, I’m so proud — and frankly, a little astounded — to see how dedicated Geisinger employees are to caring for their neighbors. These are the people still battling the COVID-19 pandemic while also providing the chronic and preventive care we need and being here for our neighbors when emergencies happen. They continue to step up to the front lines every day without fail. You can see the determination in their eyes as they help us get closer to a sense of normalcy.

The coming days bring two significant events that have special meaning to many in health care.

It’s time to recognize the selflessness of our health care workers as they work to keep our communities safe and healthy.

The first, National Nurses Week, is May 6-12. Nurses play a critical role in caring for patients, supporting families and being leaders in the fight against COVID-19. All of our nurses — inpatient and outpatient, nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses, advanced nursing practitioners, case managers and Life Flight nurses — have shown incredible resilience by adapting their roles during this pandemic. I’ve seen talent, compassion and healing from my fellow nurses throughout the decades of my nursing career, and this pandemic has only underscored those traits. By nature, nurses are some of the most talented and giving people many of us know. In this past year, they’ve given their all and taken their dedication to caring for their neighbors to new heights. Now, many of our nurses are playing a crucial part in getting our communities vaccinated against COVID-19. Nurses not only give us their time and energy, but they give us hope. For all of this, thank you, nurses.

The second event is National Hospital Week, May 9-15. Hospitals have been ground zero in the ongoing COVID-19 battle, and I marvel at what a huge variety of Geisinger staff — not just care teams, but every person who works in a hospital, whether serving food or giving directions or cleaning operating tables — must come together to provide exceptional care and support for everyone who comes through our doors. These people are your neighbors. And each of them steps up to face challenges and take on new roles when they must. Every person in our hospitals plays a part in making better health easier, and they deserve recognition for their dedication.

As we recognize nurses and everyone working in our hospitals, I want you to know there is something you can do to thank them: Get your COVID-19 vaccine. By doing so, you’ll join them in the fight to end this pandemic. If you’ve already gotten vaccinated, my fellow nurses and health care workers thank you for making our jobs a little easier.

To our nurses and our hospital workers, your sacrifices and commitment do not go unnoticed.

You inspire us, and we salute you.

Janet Tomcavage is Geisinger executive vice president and chief nurse executive.

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