It takes an extraordinary amount of gear for medical personnel to stay safe while treating COVID-19 patients, and it can be hard to see their facial expressions behind the masks. But some caregivers around the country have found a way to show their patients that there is, in fact, a human who is treating them.
Respiratory therapist Robertino Rodrigeuz in San Diego appears to have come up with the idea. He put a laminated photo of himself smiling on the outside of his personal protective gear and posted it on Instagram.
"A reassuring smile makes a big difference to a scared patient," his post said.
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Yesterday I felt bad for my patients in ER when I would come in the room with my face covered in PPE. A reassuring smile makes a big difference to a scared patient. So today I made a giant laminated badge for my PPE. So my patients can see a reassuring and comforting smile #respiratorytherapist #respiratorycarepractitioner #covid_19 #ppe #sandiego #california #pandemic #hospital #rcp #hospitallife #stayhomesavelives #healthcareheroes #frontliners
The movement, dubbed "Share Your Smile" has since taken off, with health care workers participating around the country.
Dr. Lina Soni, who is treating coronavirus patients in Brooklyn, said that she attached a picture to the outside of her suit to put patients at ease after sensing that all the gear was making them scared.
"The patients really had a wonderful connection to it," Soni said. "They deserve to see just normal people around them."