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By Lisa DiBlasi Moorehead, EdD, MSN, RN, CENP, CJCP, Associate Nurse Executive

Recently, the American Hospital Association (AHA) along with the American Nurses Association (ANA) and American Medical Association (AMA), launched a #ForeverGrateful campaign to express gratitude to the frontline caregivers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The AHA has posted many of the #ForeverGrateful comments on its website.  

I have personally spoken to doctors and nurses who have been on the frontline caring for COVID patients from the very beginning of the pandemic. These individuals worked tirelessly to discover treatment approaches that provided the best patient outcomes so the rest of us could learn and prepare for what was coming our way. Their sacrifices saved not only the lives of their patients but countless others for which we will all be #ForeverGrateful.  

During 2021, Joint Commission surveyors and reviewers conducted close to 4,500 accreditation and certification events in all areas of the country, and in organizations large and small.  Our surveyors and reviewers, by the very nature of our work, have observed countless acts of compassion and caring that would be remarkable during normal times but are extraordinary during a global pandemic.  

For example, surveyors and reviewers often observed staff, after working their own extended shifts, volunteering to work even more to offer vaccinations and COVID testing in their communities.  

One surveyor worked with a hospital that not only was dealing with the pandemic but also was in the path of major hurricane. When the facility lost power, the ICU director put out a call for staff to assist in transporting ICU patients – over 100 staff members responded to the call and not one patient was lost.

Another surveyor shared an example from a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital that reached out to its extended community that was struggling to meet the demands of a COVID surge. This VA accepted patients as transfers to alleviate the burden of their colleagues who no longer had the resources to care for such a large number of COVID positive patients. The hospital’s actions eased the load of other caregivers and provided lifesaving treatment to those in need. 

The list goes on and on. Many healthcare workers have said they no longer want thanks but change. I can completely understand that and discussed this very issue last May in my blog post “Even Nurse ‘Heroes’ Are Humans Who Need Support.” This holds even more true today than last spring. I know it’s not enough but, the world will be #ForeverGrateful for the dedication and sacrifice of our frontline healthcare workers for generations to come. 

Lisa DiBlasi Moorehead, EdD, MSN, RN, CENP, is the Associate Nurse Executive in the Division of Accreditation and Certification Operations at The Joint Commission. Previously, Dr. DiBlasi Moorehead was a field director at The Joint Commission for the Hospital, Critical Access Hospital and Nursing Care Center accreditation programs. Since 2010, she has been a surveyor for the Hospital accreditation program. Prior to joining The Joint Commission, Dr. DiBlasi Moorehead was responsible for accreditation and regulatory compliance and related performance improvement activities for a five-hospital system in Louisville, Kentucky. She has also held leadership positions in nursing, quality and education during her more than 30 years in health care.