Healing Ourselves While Healing Others

 In Nurses Weekly

Donna A. Gaffney, DNSc, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, invites you to join a free webinar series designed specifically for the challenges that nurses are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic. The professional, physical, emotional and social consequences of COVID-19 extend far beyond our worst fears. Although we are in unchartered territory, that doesn’t mean we don’t have effective strategies and solutions to combat the ravages of this pandemic. We hear you. We stand behind you. We support you.

Earlier this year the World Health Organization (WHO) named 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. It was meant to be a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale and the almost 22 million nurses and 2 million midwives in the world. In May, WHO will release the first State of the World’s Nursing Report at the 73rd World Health Assembly. One of the report’s objectives clearly states that “investing in nurses and midwives can result in improved health outcomes, health security and inclusive economic growth.”

Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we need to invest in nurses, more than ever.

The United States and New Jersey have been introduced to an alternate reality. In what seems like a surreal fog, we followed the rise of the coronavirus in China, then in Italy, then in the United States, and now in our state.  New Jersey has the second highest number of cases in the United States.

Health care providers have been impacted more than any other group of professionals and are often described in military terms as those on the “frontlines.” Professional nurses standout as they work in every area of health care—hospitals, schools, communities and practices. Nurses’ voices are telling the story of how they are struggling to do their jobs and how they feel the impact in their practices and lives. Never before have we witnessed such a united chorus. The professional, physical, emotional and social consequences of COVID-19 extend far beyond our worst fears. Although we are in unchartered territory, that doesn’t mean we don’t have effective strategies and solutions to combat the ravages of this pandemic.

We hear you. We stand behind you. We support you.

I am proud to be the coordinator of the Rutgers University School of Nursing webinar series to support nurses in their professional and personal lives. Each webinar will provide relevant content to help you recognize what nursing professionals are experiencing, both at work and at home. Every webinar will also include exercises and activities that will enhance your self-care.

The goals of all webinars will be to help New Jersey nurses thrive, not just survive. Please join us for the live sessions. There will also be recorded sessions for later viewing.

About Me:

I have long addressed trauma, loss and grief in the lives of children, adults and communities; as a psychotherapist and consultant I’ve worked with families, schools and professionals in the aftermath of tragedies and national disasters such as the Challenger explosion, the Pan Am 103 crash, Sandy Hook, the Haitian earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, I was a member of the New Jersey Traumatic Loss Coalition and the State of NJ Disaster Mental Health Services, working with Liberty Science Center, communities, families and professionals. I served on the Families of September 11 advisory board, facilitating one of the first online support groups for family members affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

I am working with corporations, communities and universities during and after the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve organized a series of webinars for individuals who are navigating living/working and schooling under the same roof.

I also focus on how children conceptualize and react to significant life events—illness, loss and grief. In addition to academic publications, I am the author of The Seasons of Grief, Helping Children Grow Through Loss. With a long history in classroom, experiential and online education, I’ve taught and developed programs at the International Trauma Studies Program, Columbia and Seton Hall Universities. My master’s degrees are from Teachers College, Columbia University and Rutgers University and my doctorate is from the University of Pennsylvania. My post-doctoral work includes the Prudential Fellowship for Children and the News at Columbia Journalism School and the International Trauma Studies Program. I am a consultant for the New York Life Foundation and the Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families Program at Arizona State University.  My private practice focuses on individuals, professionals and communities affected by trauma, loss and violence.

For more support on your Healthy Nurse journey, please visit the Healthy Nurse Healthy New Jersey webpage and our private Facebook page New Jersey State Nurses Healthy Nurse. The Healthy Nurse Healthy New Jersey Team wishes you well on your Healthy Nurse journey!

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