The true character of healthcare workers has never been more evident and it's endlessly motivating.
It's been said that adversity reveals one's true character. And during COVID-19, we've seen the heart of our customers on full display. Despite the challenges and exhaustion, they've bravely stepped forward—and haven't backed down.
In some of the hardest-hit areas of the world, Stryker's Trauma & Extremities representatives have had a unique perspective. Amid the crisis, their work to support these healthcare heroes continues. "Our customers are going through a variety of challenges as they face this new reality", said Michael Schena, Stryker team leader in New York City. "Conversations about cases and courses have become conversations about family and well-being".
The role of our trauma representatives is also shifting. Many reps are connecting with customers virtually. "Just a week ago, I ran an online Zoom training session for the nursing staff at two sites to help them understand the platform and make it work for both them and us", said Donovan Robertson, Stryker rep in the UK. This virtual connection is also making its way into the OR. According to Gloria Sottile, Stryker rep in Italy, "We are investigating new tools for virtual support in the operating room during surgery".
Since millions of people are sheltering in place, fewer people are getting injured. But occasional emergencies are still happening and our trauma reps are there, seeing the unrelenting spirit of healthcare workers first-hand. One story provided by Peter Stewart, from our team in New York City, paints a vivid picture. "This was captured during an OR nurse's hour-and-a-half break from the recently converted 4th floor ICU shift", said Peter. "He ate quickly. Then, instead of relaxing or taking a nap, he came to the trauma case we were making preparations for and relieved one of his colleagues. Once the case was finished, he proceeded to head back to the ICU for the remainder of his shift".
For our reps, this level of selflessness and compassion has been described as both humbling and intoxicating. The true character of healthcare workers has never been more evident and it's endlessly motivating. This goes for the nurses, jumping from case to case, and also orthopaedic surgeons whose entire worlds have shifted. "Some [surgeons] are seeing their entire elective caseload for the coming months disappear overnight", says Michael Schena. "Others are seeing their hopes and aspirations for starting their practice get put on hold. Some are even transforming from carers into COVID-19 patients and facing their own personal battle with the virus".
Despite the unsettling stories and scenes, especially in places like New York City, there are signs of hope. Brian Esernio, sales representative and team leader has seen them first-hand. "Every day for five weeks, I would go to work and see the lines of people outside the hospitals waiting to get tested for the virus" he says. "It's been more than a week now and I haven't seen any lines outside the hospitals. It appears that there are more recovered COVID-19 patients walking out the doors than ever before".
Something like COVID-19 is a reminder that the heart of healthcare isn't rooted in buildings and equipment. It's about people. It's about nurses, doctors, surgeons and countless others who weren't expecting a pandemic but whose character was always prepared. They are the heroes. And we're proud to call them our customers.