In Jackie Kwasniewski’s 11 years at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, she can hardly think of a time of more uncertainty at work.
“Being positive during this crisis has been tough for a lot of nurses and health care workers,” Kwasniewski explained. “I wanted to find a way to raise everyone’s spirits due to the anxiety we’re all feeling.”
The nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic was absentmindedly brainstorming last week as she made dinner at home when Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow” began to play on the radio.
“It just struck a chord with me there and I thought, ‘wow this really is going to be okay, there is a rainbow,” Kwasniewski said. “I wondered if there was a way I could sing this for our patients and staff to instill some hope.”
Kwasniewski, 30, went to her supervisor who loved the idea and the pair began to coordinate with other team members, incorporating the performance into the hospital’s National Nurses Week tribute.
UPMC music therapists Kory Antonacci and Nicole Steele accompanied Kwasniewski on guitars as she put her hidden talent on display Wednesday, filling the hospital’s atrium with sweet sounds of “a rainbow hangin’ over your head.”
Medical staff, patients and families all gathered around as best they could, standing at least six feet apart on multiple floors to listen in.
“You could see everyone looking onward and it was just a wonderful feeling,” Kwasniewski said. “I don’t normally sing at work so a lot of people were kind of shocked. It was a very humbling moment.”
And that humbling moment moved many teammates to tears.
“Some nurses said this was something they really needed, thank you for instilling hope in our staff and patients,” Kwasniewski said. “It made it all worthwhile.”