BOZEMAN — It’s a challenging time to work in the healthcare industry.
“We have had teams working around the clock from the beginning of the pandemic. Again, we think we’re coming out of it and then it goes back again,” said Dr. Melissa Wolf, co-director of physician and provider wellness at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital.
For many of these workers, it’s not just the hours that have been extended but the workload as well.
“The higher number of patients, they’re sicker patients and trying to coordinate that with staffing shortages certainly has been a challenge,” Wolf said.
That prompted an idea to support these men and women.
“If we could just get the community together, as many people as possible to come out and just spread our arms wide out and hopefully go around the whole distance, the whole perimeter of the hospital and really have that visual of a hug,” said organizer Rev. Amy Strader.
Hence the name of the event: Hug the Hospital.
“If we could have 500, that would be really amazing. Some people said it was too big of a goal, you’ll never get 500 people out there, and then somebody else said well I don’t know. There were 18,000 people at the stadium on Saturday, so I think we can probably get 500," Strader said.
Strader says the event is more symbolic than literally hugging the building.
“The visual is just, again, we are going to have some drones that are going to fly over aerial, and so, if we could have enough people that had their arms stretched out all the way around the hospital that there would be a visual of the hospital being hugged by all of our arms,” she said.
And for workers, the symbolism will be significant.
“The visible support really lets them know that their contributions matter and the community cares about them and acknowledges the work that they’re doing,” said Wolf.
The event will be Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.