As the CEO of a large hospital, I’ve witnessed the incredible dedication of our doctors, nurses, and other staff on the frontline. These incredible people have risked their own health to save the lives of hundreds of patients during the coronavirus pandemic. On behalf of the hospital, I want to show my support in the only way we know how: with a Microsoft Word poster that says, “THANK YOU, FRONTLINE WORKERS!!!”
Some people will ask, “is an all-caps Microsoft Word poster really enough when more than 500 healthcare workers have died of coronavirus in the United States?” It’s true; nothing we do can ever truly thank these workers for the sacrifices they’ve made. But I think that a clipart image of a big yellow smiley face, arms outreached for a hug, comes pretty damn close.
Some of our employees are afraid to see their own families for fear of infecting the people they love. They’re living in basements, isolating in motels, or enduring lengthy disinfecting processes before entering their own homes. Is a simple poster an appropriate enough token of thanks for their sacrifices? Of course not. But an overly busy poster with multiple fonts sure is. We’re talking serif fonts AND sans serifs. Powerful fonts like Impact, and fun fonts like Comic Sans. Maybe some Wing Dings thrown in to make it whimsical. This is the thank you they really deserve.
Some have suggested that we should be increasing pay for our healthcare workers. But I feel like putting a price on their sacrifices kind of cheapens our gratitude. You know what isn’t cheap? Rainbow font. We’re going all-in with this poster. Full color. Laser printed.
Others have suggested that if we really want to show our support for our healthcare workers, we should provide them with the personal protective equipment that they need to do their job safely. But really, providing PPE for our staff is the bare minimum that should be expected of us. Instead, we want to give our staff something truly amazing: inspirational quotes. Yes, our posters feature words of wisdom, like “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” That’s the kind of motivation you need when you haven’t slept in days and you’re living in constant fear for yourself, your patients, and your loved ones.
Of course, we aren’t just putting up hastily made posters in multiple fonts. We know that wouldn’t be enough. We’re pulling out all the stops to show our frontline healthcare workers that we appreciate the work that they’re doing. In addition to posters, we also have window paintings, murals, window signs, and (sometimes) muffins. This is a multi-pronged approach to supporting these heroes.
I’m also encouraging the public to show their support for healthcare workers. Yes, you could help protect healthcare workers by simply wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding public places except when necessary. But instead, I’m going to suggest that you take steps that will show healthcare workers that you really care. Share images on social media thanking them. Include multiple fonts, bright colors, maybe even an animated gif. Will these things help healthcare workers? I can’t say for certain, but I do know that they’ll help us feel good about ourselves.