It’s 6:45 p.m. at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and staff are coming and going at shift change. But something catches the eye this time — five police cars lined up on Sixth Avenue South between the main hospital and Outpatient Care Center.
Next to the cars stand St. Petersburg Police Department officers, a few holding signs and waving to clinical team members as a way to honor their bravery during this time.
“It was really sweet to see the SPPD come out in support of our hospital and staff,” says Rayna Tanis, a certified Child Life specialist in the Emergency Center. “It’s been heartwarming to see communities come together all over the country and it makes me proud that our city is coming together for each other, too.”
While it is a tough time for people worldwide no matter what their profession, it can be especially trying for front-line health care workers.
“I am staying positive during this time by using my creativity and my skills as a Child Life specialist to provide support to the Emergency Center staff,” explains Rayna. “I have to ‘Child Life’ myself and my team sometimes and I’ve been using one of my most effective coping strategies to do that — distraction!”
And perhaps that is just what SPPD wants for staff, too — giving 15 minutes of their presence and support, to temporarily distract and support those who are taking care of the sick.
“They are truly the heroes behind the mask,” says SPPD Police Chief Anthony Holloway. “Our officers have had to enforce so many new restrictions as part of the pandemic so they were glad to participate in a positive mission to spread some cheer.”
After a few waves and smiles while taking in some outdoor sunshine, it was time for both the first responders and front-line workers to report back to taking care of themselves and the community in which they serve.
“I understand what it means to do a job where you put yourself at risk for the benefit of others,” Holloway says. “I wanted our local health care workers to know that we appreciate what they are doing for all of us.”