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Transforming health by caring for those who care for us

Molly K. McCarthy MBA, RN-BC | National Director, Health Providers and Plans Industry, Microsoft
Kathleen McGrow DNP, MS, RN, PMP | US Chief Nursing Information Officer, Microsoft
Kelly Larrabee-Robke, MBA, MS, RN | US Chief Nursing Officer, Microsoft

Group of nurses and doctors with facemasks.The challenges faced by healthcare worldwide in the last year have resulted in unprecedented challenges and remarkable capabilities in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.  We applaud our nurse colleagues’ heroic and formidable efforts serving patients and communities in various roles and capacities across the continuum of care. We celebrate the incredible differences made by nurses in caring for patients during the pandemic and beyond. We invite them to join our upcoming event, NurseHack4Health, an opportunity to convene with hundreds of nurses and other innovators from around the world for an inspiring event of collaboration and ideation. 

Nurses continue to receive the American public accolades and support in 2021 and are recognized by the Gallup organization as “America’s most trusted profession” for the nineteenth year in a row. American Nurses Association (ANA) President Ernest Grant noted in a recent Becker’s Healthcare article that “nurses lost numerous patients and colleagues to a highly communicable, deadly virus while trying to protect and preserve their communities with limited resources and support”. Now more than ever, we must make time to highlight the invaluable role nurses play in ensuring our patients’ quality of care, which includes prioritizing efforts to safeguard nurses’ well-being. Balancing physical, mental, and professional sources of happiness that allow for elements of joy, contentment, or positive well-being in our work and personal lives is essential.  In conjunction with Microsoft, the ANA recently created a stress self-assessment checker for nurses as part of the ANA Well-Being Initiative, which helps nurses build strength and maintain health through various features that provide peer support, guided relaxation, apps with well-being tools, and webinars 

Building healthy work environments and fortifying channels of collaboration necessary for healthcare transformation and patient experience are essential to nurses’ well-being.  “You’re never done working on patient experience,” says Jennifer Grell, MSN, RN, Network Director of Clinical Informatics and Training at Saint Luke’s University Hospital Network. “We are accountable to our HCAHPS [Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems] scores. So, when we asked ourselves how we can improve patient experience, it meant we must look to our own people. And what is a good way for us to empower them? Microsoft Teams.”

In response to the need to ensure knowledge and skills are current, professional development in nursing is responding to reflect the dynamic nature of technology in care delivery and emerging evidence.  Microsoft and the American Hospital Association launched a one-of-kind continuing education on Artificial Intelligence program for nurses and physicians in October 2020. In addition to utilizing traditional continuing education and academic programs, nurses are developing novel methods to strengthen skills and knowledge.  The University of Michigan implemented the HoloLens for virtual learning to standardize and advance training for hundreds of students during the pandemic and thereafter.  

Virtual communities allowing for connection, engagement, and knowledge sharing are now an integral part of how we further pursue efforts to build expertise in nursing practice updates, policy developments, and continuing advancements in healthcare. We challenge fellow nurses to continue to lead with empathy and compassion while simultaneously driving professional development in such virtual communities. The upcoming 3rd NurseHack4Health, May 14th -16th, allows nurses to collaborate with software developers, business professionals, and other innovators passionate about the nursing practice, while achieving another way to drive professional development.  We encourage you to join us and your health colleagues at this event! 

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says, “We at Microsoft view ourselves as digital-first responders when the true first responders call from the front lines. Microsoft works for the heroes who are putting their lives at risk and must bring them everything we have to offer.” 

Put simply, it’s about caring for those who care for us. We want to share a heartfelt thanks to the nurses and midwives across the globe for your dedication and passion for caring for us.