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Lehigh Valley Health Network Nurses’ Documentary Honors Those on the Front-Lines Throughout the Pandemic

Caregivers’ candor highlights strength and resiliency of nurses during most challenging times

Nurses featured in “The Strength to Heal” - a documentary
Documentary participants are Andrea Kushnir, RN, LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology–Pond Road, Nichole Persing, RN, Director of Patient Care Services, LVH–Hecktown Oaks, Matt Feller, RN, LVHN–MedEvac, and Pauline Ayompe, RN, Float Pool, LVH–Cedar Crest

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has released a first-of-its-kind documentary honoring its nurses by sharing stories about their heroic work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The documentary features four nurses who, throughout the pandemic, found the bravery, courage and resilience to continue working through some of the most challenging experiences in their careers.

The documentary, called “The Strength to Heal,” is a testament to nurses across the entire country and world who learned how to persevere in the worst of times. The featured LVHN nurses share how the bonds forged with their patients and learning how to care for themselves outside of work allowed them to keep going, even when the going was getting tough.

“I believe that the foundation of great medical care is nursing, and LVHN’s nurses are among the best you will find. During the challenging initial years of the pandemic, the community turned to LVHN and its nurses not just for stability and care, but for compassion and emotional support,” said Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of LVHN. “The strength, resiliency and commitment to patients in the face of uncertainty demonstrated by our nurses are nothing short of heroic, and we’re thrilled to showcase that dedication and strength of character in this documentary.”

The documentary highlights nurses’ commitment to their patients and the critical role they are still playing in the community’s fight against COVID-19. Each of the LVHN nurses featured in the documentary exemplifies dedication to providing high-quality patient care that not only drives improved patient outcomes, but also leaves an indelible mark on those in their care. From brightening birthdays spent in the hospital with COVID, to bringing loved ones together when difficult goodbyes were made – many virtually – these nurses provided compassionate and personalized support. This commitment shone through even as they were facing their own challenges, such as isolating from friends and family so they could continue reporting to the front-lines to care for others or facing fears of bringing COVID home to their own children. Their strength and resiliency are characteristic of LVHN’s approach to patient care at large.

“The nursing profession has been irrevocably altered by the pandemic. This documentary provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on our shared experiences and find meaning in what we will carry forward.” - Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of LVHN

The detailed stories featured in the documentary provide a complete view into the lives of nurses during those challenging times. Their stories, like those of their colleagues in the nursing community, are reflective of the difficulties that nurses faced across the nation – providing a full, detailed look into their lives inside and outside of their work during the height of the pandemic. One story in particular comes from nurse Nichole Persing, Director of Patient Care Services, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Lehigh Valley Hospital–Hecktown Oaks, who likened navigating the challenging time to the athletic endurance training she completed to compete in multiple Ironman competitions. She shares in this documentary how her passion for training for Ironman races allowed her to apply the endurance mindset to her nursing work, helping her persevere in the most daunting situations as she led an ICU unit through the pandemic and provided care firsthand to affected community members.

“The nursing profession has been irrevocably altered by the pandemic,” Nester said. “This documentary provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on our shared experiences and find meaning in what we will carry forward.”

Friends of Nursing 2022

The Strength to Heal

A documentary film about Lehigh Valley Health Network nurses during the pandemic.

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