JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
To honor Florence Nightingale’s birthday, Brooke Army Medical Center’s critical care staff stood, with room for appropriate social distancing, along the elevated covered walkway that leads from the BAMC parking garage to the hospital and cheered for the staff as they made their way into work May 12.
“We normally host events every day during Nurses Week,” said Marie Mayfield, assistant chief nursing officer in charge of 3 East Progressive Care at BAMC. “But, with everything that’s happening right now, we couldn’t do that.”
Nurses Week is May 6-12 each year, but because of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, large gatherings were not an option. Instead, Mayfield and the critical care staff came up with something different to help boost the morale of BAMC staff.
“This year has been very difficult for our staff,” said Lt. Col. Kirk Giles, chief nursing officer in charge of the 2 North surgical ICU and head nurse at BAMC. “It’s been challenging.”
Both Mayfield and Giles discussed the deployments their staff members made to New York City to help with the COVID-19 issues there.
Staff members were also being rotated through various departments within BAMC to help cover for staff members who had deployed due to COVID-19 and other missions.
They wanted to hold some kind of event to help boost the morale for their staff members but decided to make it an event that would benefit all of BAMC.
For more than an hour, Mayfield, Giles, and members of their staff clapped, cheered, and shouted encouragement as BAMC staff members as they made their way into the hospital to start their day. Surprise showed on the faces of the staff members who passed through the inspiring gauntlet, but there were also tears of appreciation coming down the cheeks of more than one BAMC staff member.
“They just said they were very appreciative,” Mayfield said. “We all know that no one here can do the job without the housekeepers, the doctors, the nurses, and all the other staff members who come to work with us every day. We all need each other and we wanted to make sure everyone knew how much they are appreciated.