12 Days of Healthcast

Join Us for the 12 Days of UNM Healthcast

As we wind down toward the holidays and winter break, take a few moments to enjoy these short vignettes brought to you by the UNM Healthcast. Learn about the tradition of tamales, de-stress body and mind with some Christmas themed yoga poses, and more! 

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to caring for the people of New Mexico. Happy Holidays! 

Day 1: Kids Connecting with Family During the Holidays

Day 2: Vaccine Debates Cause Fights - How to Cope

Day 3: Supporting Frontline Healthcare Heroes

Day 4: Social Media Activities During the Holidays


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How to Support Our Community’s Most Dedicated Caretakers

Outside of the hospital, many people seem to be reaching for some semblance of “normalcy.” We venture out of our homes, donning masks in most indoor spaces, and making efforts to safely navigate social engagements in the face of Omicron, yet another new strain of COVID-19.

Inside the hospital, not much has changed since March 2020.

“The hospital is way over capacity, it’s beyond full,” says Steve Nuanez, director of Employee Wellbeing at The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH). “There’s a sense of it being kind of relentless. We reached a point at the beginning of the year, we were doing vaccines, we felt like things were going to get better… And now here we are at the end of the year, and it’s just continued this whole time. The sense of exhaustion is pretty profound.”

Eddie Rojas-Alvarado adds, “It’s almost like not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. We’re kind of back to square one, where we don’t really see an end to this. Now the issue has become more about accepting that there is no end to this, and instead shifting how we do healthcare and practice medicine.”

Rojas-Alvarado, program coordinator for the Employee Wellbeing and Health Literacy Office, has also worked as an inpatient tech and an outpatient medical assistant. Both Nuanez and Rojas-Alvarado maintain that the best thing people can do to help is get vaccinated. Even with a large percentage of the New Mexico population vaccinated (more than 75% have completed the full vaccination series), it still isn’t enough to stem the tides of new patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Rojas-Alvarado asks that we all “have persuasive conversations with friends and family who are reluctant to get their vaccines, follow the CDC guidelines for COVID-safe practices… And don’t turn your back on health care workers. We are not the bad guys. We are doing everything we can for your safety, and for the safety of all of us and for our loved ones and those around us in our communities.”

It’s easy to feel isolated in this work, sometimes even on the job. When it comes to appreciation and recognition, Nuanez and Rojas-Alvarado find that what most health care workers crave is empathy, or even just someone to listen.

“It’s really hard for health care workers to receive care themselves,” Rojas-Alvarado says. “It’s important to just listen to what each individual needs.” This might look like talking and venting about their work, or quiet time to decompress.

“Of course, it is hard to understand, what it’s really like going through it,” Nuanez says. “But just recognition – ‘I know you’re there and I see you. I know what you’re doing and I feel so grateful for it. That’s really powerful.”

For Rojas-Alvarado, the key is honoring what health care workers are living through. “You don’t need to understand it. My mom doesn’t need to understand ‘a day in the life of Eddie at the hospital.’ But if she honors it, and gives me that space to talk about what I’m going through, and then at the end of our conversation she says, ‘Man, that sucks.’ …That’s great. That’s all I needed.”

Learn more about how health care workers at UNMH are navigating their day-to-day by watching our Healthcast episode with Eddie and Steve.

To show your continued support for our health care workers, contact Volunteer Services at UNMH. Or you can mail cards directly to: Eddie Rojas-Alvarado, Employee Wellbeing, 933 Bradbury Dr. SE, Suite 1100, ABQ, NM 87106.

Day 5: The Tradition of Tamales During the Holidays

Day 6: Coping with Holiday Stress

Check back every day for new Healthcast content!

Categories: Community Engagement