TUCSON, Ariz. — With COVID cases rising again, doctors and nurses haven’t gotten a break since the start of the pandemic.
“I would actually say this week it’s very much starting to hit strong. And what didn't happen was it didn't go down, we didn't have the emotional load or the return to normal. So not only are nurses really burned out, their building and stacking on what was already there,” said Lesly Kelly, a nurse scientist at Dignity Health and an Arizona Nurses Association volunteer.
Kelly says having burnout and then a high-stress pandemic on top of that, is not a good way to survive in the profession. So she helped spearhead RNConnect, a resource service for nurses.
“We know we're burned out, we know we need emotional support, we know we need Psychological resources, but there is not time to connect to them right now. So what we did is create a simple, very simple way to connect to them through text messaging,” said Kelly.
RNConnect ran for a few weeks in October into November.
“Rather than having to go looking for it, it comes straight to you. You text RNConnect to 31996 you're signed up and it just automatically comes every week. It gives you information, we decided to do a whole broad range of different types of activities. When we relaunch it we're going to do focused modules,” said Kelly.
The pilot program for RNConnect reached 3,000 nurses. But Kelly says, there are more than 96,000 in the state. Out of those the program did reach, RNConnect was found to be successful.
“We did a short pulse survey and we found that like 80% of the nurses said that it was highly likely that they would use it in their everyday activities. We knew that we were reaching our target audience,” said Kelly.
The Arizona Nurses Association is currently fundraising to start RNConnect back up for another six months.