By Nate Blackford, Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville president

As you know, this week marks the first phase of “reopening” our state and communities. We are all very anxious to return to a sense of normalcy. We are excited to have the opportunity to dine at our favorite restaurants and shop at our favorite retail stores. And the businesses are eager to have our patronage again. COVID-19 has not only been a population health issue but also an economic one.

As we reopen and begin taking steps forward as a community, it is important to adhere to the public health guidance provided by both state and local governments. In doing so, we, collectively, need to help mitigate the threat of COVID-19 that continues to exist.

In short, I encourage you to follow public health protocols and support your local economy. We are in this together.

Also this week, the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) launched a campaign entitled “Missouri Hospitals: Ready for You.” We are proud to join MHA in this effort.

A key part of this campaign is focused on resuming medically necessary elective procedures. Many hospitals around the state, including us at Mosaic, have recently restarted elective surgeries. At Mosaic, patients are required to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to their procedure. Testing is completed as part of the routine preoperative process.

MHA noted that nearly 50% of patients have delayed care. As mentioned for past several weeks, delaying care can be detrimental to your health. The restarting of medically appropriate elective surgeries in a safe setting will have a positive impact on our patients. We are ready for you at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville.

Finally, and somewhat fittingly, this week is National Nurses Week. This year’s theme is “The Year of the Nurse.” Beginning with a celebration of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday on May 6, the week is dedicated to raising awareness of the important role nurses play in society.

When the seriousness of the pandemic took hold, Mosaic’s nursing staff were among the first to share their knowledge of everything from the correct way to wear personal protective equipment to caring for patients in isolation. When the rules of patient care changed in response to the new coronavirus, they were flexible, creating innovative new processes and workflows designed to provide the best and safest care.

“The Year of the Nurse” is so much more than the theme for National Nurses Week 2020, it is the story of dedication, passion, sympathy, respect, empathy, advocacy and integrity.

Please join me in wishing our nurses a Happy Nurses Week.