As We Begin to Shift to the New Normal, Let’s Not Forget the Lessons of COVID-19

These past few weeks have felt endless.

But now it appears there might be a small light at the end of the tunnel. Many cities and states are beginning to ponder their plans for reopening—and a few have slowly begun lifting their restrictions. The world won’t open in one fell swoop, but as we inch closer, it begs an important question: What does that mean for us as health care providers?

While we don’t know exactly what the future holds for us yet, I think it’s important to be communicative with your team during this time. While we shift back to “business as usual,” we know life won’t go back 100% to the way it was. In order to protect our patients—and to ease the mind of everyone on staff—we need to have discussions with one another about what going back to work looks like.

What kind of new safety protocols will be instituted? What materials do we need to have access to for us to effectively do our jobs?  What did we learn about the way we care for our patients when pressed with an international crisis such as this? We also have to consider the economic implications of COVID-19 on health care in general. What is this going to do to the way our health care systems work, the way we’re funded and how we gain access to the tools we need to perform?

For ASTCT, these conversations are happening, too. Since the onset of COVID-19, ASTCT staff has been working hard to collect resources for our members and their patients. They’ve also been tirelessly working on Capitol Hill to advocate on issues that directly impact us, including asking the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure access to domestic and international bone marrow transplant.

I believe there are a lot of lessons we can learn from this outside our profession as well. During this time apart, many of us have had time to reflect on what matters to us. For some, it’s been a time to focus in on projects—both personal and professional—that we’ve always wanted to complete. For others, it’s underscored the importance of family and friends.

All of us are have experienced change during this unprecedented time. There are a lot of questions we don’t have the answer to yet, but together we’re trying to find them. I hope we use that to push us forward into the new normal and make us more empathetic, agile and energized about the future ahead.

I know for the Society and for my colleagues around the world, we are weathering this storm with idealism and courage. Everyone is going through this, and we must look to one another for strength and support.


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