An open letter from OSF HealthCare
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following guest commentary from OSF HealthCare was received by The Catholic Post on Feb. 3 and published in The Catholic Post dated Feb. 13, 2022. It was signed by Sister Diane Marie McGrew, OSF, president of OSF HealthCare, and Mike Cruz, MD, chief operating officer of OSF HeathCare.
Throughout OSF HealthCare, our hospitals, clinics and staff are being challenged in ways we haven’t experienced in two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you look back on OSF history, those before us faced similar challenges. Our founding Sisters cared for patients with contagious diseases, and as it is today, the need for care was tremendous. Those Sisters were willing to do whatever was needed, saying, “This is a person created in God’s image, and I’m going to take care of them.”
Today’s Sisters — and their 24,000 partners in the OSF HealthCare Mission — are also saying that.
Yes, our health care workers are tired and worn out. Just like health systems across the country, our doctors, nurses, clinical support staff and others continue to endure mental, emotional and physical strain. The surge we are experiencing with omicron is the latest test.
But our caregivers and other Mission Partners draw strength from the example and legacy of the OSF founding Sisters. It’s what energizes them and gives them purpose for showing up every day. For that, we are so very thankful to them. They know, no matter the crisis or illness, our patients come first. They trust us and continue to know that OSF Mission Partners have their best interest at heart. We do whatever it takes to provide them with the greatest care and love, as we have for 144 years. This is what OSF is built on. This is our purpose. This is our calling. This is our Mission.
Even as we face staff shortages — due to illness and a nursing shortage, a trend across health care — our Mission Partners are answering the call to serve. Mission Partners from across our Ministry are stepping up to volunteer time in patient-care areas — clearing food trays, placing meal orders, stocking supplies, transporting patients within our hospitals . . . and so much more. It’s more proof that the sacred Mission we have been entrusted with continues, and will continue whether we are enjoying good times or navigating the most challenging situations.
We would appreciate your help during this latest chapter of the pandemic. There are so many things you can do for us. For individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, please seek out testing at our walk-in urgent care clinics or through your primary care provider. Individuals who aren’t experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to the virus can get tested at community sites and retail pharmacies or use an at-home test. It is best that our emergency departments dedicate efforts towards patients needing emergency care.
But it’s imperative that you do not delay using the emergency department, or calling 911, for life-threatening emergencies, such as severe shortness of breath, chest pain, stroke symptoms, traumatic injuries or uncontrolled bleeding.
Most of all, please be kind. Be patient. Be understanding of what our Mission Partners — and all health care workers — are experiencing.
At OSF, we’re confident we are carrying out our purpose to care for all those who need care. We will continue to embrace and be lifted up by our Mission as we hope for a brighter future for our patients and the communities we serve.
Thank you, and God bless.