“Desperate times call for high fashion.”
That’s the tagline atop @covidsocks, an Instagram page run by Katie Hammond, a nurse at Harborview Medical Center. The account features pictures of colorful, often zany socks worn by nursing staff across UW Medicine as well as photo submissions from medical professionals across the country who Hammond knows from her years as a traveling nurse.
We caught up with Katie to ask her about how “covidsocks” became a comedic coping strategy during challenging times.
Why did you start this account?
Katie: I created this account because I was searching for joy during these tumultuous times. I think darkness will swallow you whole if you let it. After a long shift one day, I thought about what made me smile and everyone’s socks immediately came to mind. I decided I was going to start capturing all that happiness. Turns out my HMC family felt the same way.
What has the response been like?
Katie: Everyone really embraced this account from its inception. Nurses, radiology techs, HAs, EVS, doctors and more. I am so happy others enjoy it as much as I do. Sometimes, little things bring the most joy. Socks. In my ten years of nursing, I’ve seen some amazing socks! They were just hiding underneath our scrubs.
What about the strategy of tucking scrubs into socks—is that a general best practice or COVID-19-specific?
Katie: Vanessa from Infection Control actually answered this one for me! While we were out doing home assessment, we always made sure that the team members entering the homes would either tuck [pant legs] into their socks or “French cuff” them ‘90s style.
That way, we weren’t dragging our scrub bottoms on potentially contaminated floors and bringing COVID outside. The sock tuck just became a thing on the inpatient side for the same reason. It’s a way to keep us safe from as many points of contamination as we can!
You used to be a traveling nurse, but decided to settle down and work at Harborview Medical Center. What makes Harborview such a special place to work?
Katie: What I love about Harborview is our culture of kindness. We are good to one another. We’ve faced this challenge together. And we’ve got a great sense of humor.
- If you would like to support UW Medicine’s efforts to save lives and stop COVID-19 through a cash gift or in-kind donation, please visit acceleratemed.org/heroes.
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- Find resources to navigate work and everything from self-care to child care during COVID-19 here.