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‘You are our hero’: Cards, care packages comfort MICU nurses at Prisma Health Richland

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 5:03 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Positivity first. It’s a mantra many of you have seen me posting a lot about on Facebook and Instagram this past week. It’s the idea that if we lead first from a place of positivity, connection and service we can make the best of this situation.

There's no truer representation of that mantra than what's going on in the medical intensive unit (MICU) at Prisma Health Richland Hospital.

Dr. Will Owens is a critical care physician at Prisma Health. His wife, Lorien Owens, is a former nurse. She said her husband came home a few weeks ago from his unit and said to her that he felt like morale was low and he wanted to find a way to lift the nurses’ spirits.

"A lot of us didn't know what to expect when this really hit our hospital hard,” said MICU nurse, Nina Naber. “A lot of us are scared. We're still scared.”

Lorien said she took some time over a puzzle at home with her kids before she came up with this idea: A “sign up genius” online was born. Her thought was this: it would allow people looking for ways to give to send cards, baked goods, catered lunches, and other comfort items to the nurses on staff.

Within just hours to a day of her first posting about it she had 3 weeks’ worth of signups online for both the day and the night shift nurses.

"Food and drinks are the love language of nurses universally,” Lorien said. “If you can feed and water a nurse and let him or her go to the bathroom you have a nurse friend for life.”

It’s cards from kids, homemade cupcakes from a neighbor and catered lunch from a local favorite. While these things might seem simple to those of us staying home, it means everything to a hospital worker just trying to muster up the strength to attack another day.

“To have the community there, it helps us push through the day, get through the night,” Nina said. “And know that while we're here at the bedside taking care of these critically ill patients, that the community is really supporting us and it really means a lot.”

Due to the high demand for giving in the MICU, Prisma Health put up another page to allow any other community members to give to other floors, donate supplies, or just generally reach out for support. If it’s in your heart to give, go to PrismaHealth.org/giving

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