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Last year I wrote an article about hospital staff decorating their clogs. But it does not stop there in hospital land. A new trend has emerged in which healthcare workers attach photos of themselves to their protective clothing. A small gesture with a big thought behind it …
Why nurses wear photos on their suits
The idea started with respiratory therapist Robertino Rodriguez from San Diego. As a respiratory specialist, he works with patients suffering from COVID-19. For that reason, he must wear protective clothing. The suit, mouth mask, and glasses make it difficult for patients to see his face.
And as Rodriguez pointed out on Instagram, this is tragic. “A reassuring smile makes a big difference to a terrified patient. I created a giant laminated badge for my PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), so my patients can now see a reassuring smile.” That is why he attached a photo of himself to his protective suit. It shows a friendly, smiling, professional man in smart clothes. The laminated photo was a hit on Instagram and got a lot of reactions. Within a short time, he received tens of thousands of likes and comments. His gesture touched many people.
A trend was born
A few hours after Rodriguez’s post, more and more hospital workers adopted his idea. Peggy Ji, an ER physician in Los Angeles, among others, was excited about the idea. In an interview with HuffPost, she said she can make a big difference with this small gesture. “These patients come in with a cough, shortness of breath, or a fever, and the question in their head and everyone’s head is, ‘Do I have COVID-19”?
I can imagine how intimidating it is to see a team of nurses, respiratory therapists, and doctors enter the room in full PPE gear. A photo helps patients “connect a human and a smile to the walking spacesuit and masks in front of them,” said Ji.
In the children’s ward
Some employees added their own twist on this. For example, a pediatrician in the Brazilian city of São Paulo chose not to wear a picture of herself but stuck an image of the Disney character Ariel on her suit.
Share Your Smile
Rodriguez is delighted that his colleagues at home and abroad have adopted the idea. He points out that the “Share Your Smile” movement, as he called it, is a great way to show that you care about the patient. “As healthcare professionals, we joined this profession because we have compassionate hearts. This shows that,” said Rodriguez.