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Our Nurse of the Week is Marcela Hanson, a senior nursing student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-Madison) who used her time during the COVID-19 pandemic to help others. After being barred from all in-person healthcare settings, Hanson and other UW-Madison nursing students found a way to help their local healthcare professionals through crowdsourcing.

UW Health decided to bar students from going into rooms at the hospital that require personal protective equipment back in February, during what was already a heavy flu season. Fast-spreading COVID-19 only made things worse, forcing the nursing school to move all learning to an online format, and ending students’ interactions with real patients, despite hospitals needing more help than ever.

Hanson works as a University Hospital nursing assistant while taking classes. She learned through a colleague that many health care workers were struggling to balance work and childcare after schools were shuttered to slow the outbreak of COVID-19. This sparked an idea for Hanson: she and her fellow nursing students could watch the children, since they would remain in Madison for their nursing classes.

Hanson shared the idea on her class’s Facebook page and received an unexpectedly strong response. She created a spreadsheet with the name and contact information for the nursing students willing to help and sent it to every nurse and physician she knows.

To learn more about the UW-Madison nursing students who crowdsourced childcare help for local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit here.

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