For over a year and a half now, healthcare professionals have been working on the frontlines of this pandemic, faithfully tending to infected patients. Even with the rise of new variants and new findings, the healthcare industry has remained steady and constant in its care for those who need it. Here are three ways healthcare professionals have been and still are heroes to society:

1. Still Showing Up

Healthcare professionals show up to their jobs every day and expose themselves to some of the deadliest COVID cases. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty of what the future holds, but they still show up and risk their lives to serve. Some doctors are reportedly sleeping in their garages or staying at hotels to ensure they don’t expose their loved ones at home. Many nurses have also had to stand in for loved ones who aren’t allowed in the hospital room. Nurses like Matt Gaynor have been vigilant in setting up phone calls and frequent FaceTime calls to ensure patients have personal, family connections amid their sickness.

2. Working Long Hours

With greater exposure comes more healthcare professionals catching COVID and staying home or quarantined for several weeks. That means longer, extended hours for those who are healthy and capable of working. Nurses working overtime are reported to have worked up to five hours longer per week during April and May of 2020 than in 2019. Think about what these extra hours mean: more time spent away from loved ones, less time resting in between shifts, and a greater chance of burnout.

3. Welcoming Telehealth

Many healthcare professionals and businesses have swiftly adapted to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, and one of those ways includes embracing telehealth. According to the CDC, there was a 154 percent increase in telehealth visits during March 2020 in comparison to 2019. “Telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels 38X higher than before the pandemic,” with all sorts of specialties incorporating this option into their practice (Compile). Telehealth has been an innovative way for doctors to help take care of their patients safely, supplementing in-person care.

These are just a few ways healthcare professionals have been heroes throughout this pandemic, constantly sacrificing their lives to do their jobs well. Consider expressing your thanks and support by following CDC guidelines, mailing a “thank you” card, sending them food, and supporting local charities that donate to COVID relief funds. Let’s express our gratitude to these heroes in white coats, ensuring their service doesn’t go unnoticed.