Pediatric ICU nurse aims to prevent burnout with community donations

Pediatric ICU nurse wants to prevent burnout with community donations

Grace Brooks, Minnesota pediatric ICU nurse, says the past three months have been more exhausting than the height of the pandemic. She turned to social media and what started with a simple post on Nextdoor has grown into dozens of donations.

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – For more than a year and a half, hospital workers have been forced to do their jobs under the constant pressure of COVID-19. But Grace Brooks, a pediatric intensive care nurse at Minnesota’s pediatric ward, says the past three months have been more exhausting than the peak of the pandemic.

“It definitely carries with us. We’re definitely taking on more patients than in the past,” Brooks said. “We’ve seen a lot of RSV cases. It usually doesn’t show up until this time of year and we started seeing cases in July.”

It’s not just physical illnesses they treat either.

“Many children have also suffered from a mental health crisis since they’re back in school,” Brooks said.

Combine all that with the health care workforce shortages seen across the country, and you have the perfect recipe for burnout. As a wellness liaison for her department, Brooks knew she had to do something special for her fellow nurses.

“I was just looking for something outside the Be Well program, outside of the emails I send,” she said.

She turned to NextDoor and wrote a message asking the community for donations for her colleagues to give them some happiness and encouragement.

Grace Brooks, Minnesota pediatric ICU nurse, is collecting community donations in an effort to boost workplace morale amid an ongoing pandemic. (FOX 9)

The response was overwhelming. Dozens of letters, gift cards, artwork and even a few picnic baskets poured in. There was so much stuff that Children’s Minnesota now oversees the donations.

Brooks says even the smallest gift can make a big impact if you work under stressful conditions every day and hope the momentum she started will continue.

“People are super creative. Things I never thought could help us, they thought,” Brooks said.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, please visit this page. Physical donations or cards can be dropped off at the Children’s Minnesota campuses welcome desk in Minneapolis or St. Paul.

Minneapolis campus of Children’s Minnesota (FOX 9)

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