Lifesavers. A paper clip. Gum. A blue pen.
To some, those items would be a random assortment of everyday things. For Beth Salko, patient care manager at Aurora St. Luke’s, it symbolizes so much more.
Like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Salko and her team have answered the call by going outside of their comfort zone. Their unit, which is typically full with 22 to 24 patients, dipped to numbers half that size. On the fly, they pivoted to treating inpatients battling severe COVID symptoms.
To thank her team members for their resilience and everything they’ve endured, Beth wanted to find a way to give back.
“I was talking to my husband, and he told me of an idea that involved candy and sayings that went with them,” said Salko.
So, Salko picked out candy and wrote on a tiny note why that piece represented something special. She then made 150 personalized gift bags for her team members and those in their sister unit.
When Aseel Abdelsamad, a nursing assistant on 9S, got her gift bag, she felt happy, appreciated for helping patients every day.
“A Life Savers candy in the bag symbolizes the many times I have been a life saver to others. It motivated me even more to always give it my all in every aspect of my job,” said Abdelsamad.
Salko got a lot of thanks from the team, especially for what turned out to be their most favorite items: gum and pens. But to Beth, it’s not about the individual gifts, it’s being valued for the collective care being provided to patients during the worldwide crisis.
“I really care about them,” said Salko. “It’s important to me that I show them that I appreciate everything they do daily for the health and well-being of our patients and each other. I am blessed with an amazing team.”