The coronavirus pandemic has intersected our community and all of our daily lives in many ways. Our faculty, our staff, our students, and alumni always stand tall during challenging situations, and we will continue to support and encourage each other and our fellow nurses during this time.
If you could give one message to a classroom of your students right now, what would it be?
Dr. Lindy Beaver: As long as you keep your passion and commitment to nursing your faculty will find a way to make that happen for you. The current situation calls for creative out of the box thinking and your faculty and friends at the College of Nursing will step up to the challenge. The struggle we are in today will cultivate the strength we need tomorrow. Never forget - we are strong and we are gamecocks. Forever to Thee!
Dr. Sabra Custer: If I could give one message to all of the graduating seniors in a room together, I would tell them not to be worried about graduating and passing NCLEX, despite how the second half of the semester has changed. I want them to know how much effort and thought their faculty are putting in to making sure we still prepare them to be successful on their boards. The students are going to have to be a little more independent and in charge of their own schedules now that we are all online, but your faculty are here to help them through this strange time. And please come back whenever we are able to schedule a delayed convocation ceremony. That day makes the four years of hard work so worth it and we want to see you get pinned!
A lot of people in the university, state of South Carolina and the country are nervous and uncertain. What would you tell someone who is panicking?
Dr. Sue Heiney: Sounds trite but take a deep breath. Be sure you have facts from a legitimate source; not your friend or next door neighbor. Make a list of your strengths that you used in the past to get through hard times. Put them on sticky notes all over the house. Practice or learn a mindfulness activity such as prayer, meditation or yoga. Connect with someone you trust and who will just listen. Find a quote that is soothing to you and say it over and over. Pick something in nature that speaks to you and focus on that whether a bird, sunset, leaf, bug, but find it and learn peace from it.
Dr. Suzanne Sutton: Uncertainty and stress can lead to anxiety and panic. Stay informed and get information from reliable sources – false or contradictory information is anxiety provoking. Stay engaged and focused: I develop a plan and break it down into steps; I can concentrate on the task at hand and keep moving forward. Having focus prevents the "what if?" spiraling of thoughts that lead to anxiety and panic. Schedule self-care activities - exercise, pampering, hobbies and, very important, social interaction – these are important for stress relief. Finally, I pray and meditate on scripture; find an inspirational quote or prayer, print it and put it where you see it frequently.
What would you say to a nurse who is on the front lines right now?
Dr. Brooke Patterson: For the nurses who are caring for the sick, I would simply say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart. You are sacrificing time away from your families to take care of those who need you most. I wish you nothing but heath and happiness. You are true angels!
Dr. Megan Cain: Aristotle once said “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” The world needs us now--thank you for not hesitating to jump in on the fight and share your talent in saving lives. You are appreciated. You are loved.
How are you practicing self-care during social distancing?
Dr. Nate Bell: Each day I go for at least two 1-hour walks. Nothing strenuous, just a chance to get outside and out of the house. I’ve set a 15k step goal for each day. I use the time to notice new things in the neighborhood (e.g., landscaping that I like, fixer-upper houses, etc.) as well as to reflect on all the current events and what needs to get done during the week. It feels much less whelming when moving. I also participate in a free Facebook group started by my personal trainer called "Fit, Fab & Socially Distanced with Reese”.
Dr. Karen Wickersham: I am taking advantage of social distancing to re-introduce exercise into my life in 10 to 20 minute bursts. My favorite website is the #DailyOM. They have great short courses and a daily newsletter that is inspirational. My cats love to help me. I started using meditation to manage anxiety a few years ago and have upped the ante now! I like the meditations by the app Calm.
A little humor for the last question! If you could be quarantined with any celebrity who would it be?
Dr. Heather Miles: If I could be quarantined with any celebrity it would have to be Ellen DeGeneres. She would keep me laughing and we could play Ellen’s Game of Games.