Dancing Philly nurses’ ‘Level Up’ video goes viral, garners heartfelt thanks from celebs

Health care workers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have been boosting team morale by breaking it down.

tjuh-nurses
Instagram / @tjuh_pool
layla

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Nurses responsible for administering COVID-19 tests to patients in Philly’s Jefferson health system took on the #LevelUpChallenge on Sunday — and their cheerful video has gone viral.

Created by singer Ciara, who is also the wife of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the dance challenge has been around for a while, but is seeing a resurgence as people flock to social media during quarantine.

When the TJUH nurses published their take, they captioned their Instagram post with a sobering disclaimer.

“[W]e waste no PPE. We take our jobs, our patients, and the resources we use seriously. However, we also take our team morale and mental health just as [seriously].”


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The video is full of energy, despite the circumstances. In a triangle formation, nine nurses clad in blue gowns, latex gloves and face masks drop down into a squat, bounce up and down and bat their bended arms to Ciara’s Jersey club-inspired “Level Up” song.

These workers are part of the Jefferson float and per diem pool, which means they fill-in at different stations where needed, and receive per diem pay.

Ciara reposted the video to her 25.1 million Instagram followers and it’s since been viewed more than 2 million times. On Ciara’s page, the video garnered high praise from some prominent names.

“Love!” wrote Janet Jackson.

“THIS!!!!!!!!” gushed Kerry Washington.

“Love this! Thank you to all our medical care workers!” Reese Witherspoon commented.

The TJUH nurses, who deferred to the hospital’s public relations department for official comment, posted online that they couldn’t believe it.

“This is unbelievable that you posted us!!!! Thank you so much for the support!! Your song keeps encouraging our team to #levelup,” they wrote.

Even the video on the brand new @tjuh_pool page has been viewed more than 28k times.

The nurses first began to post on March 29, tackling the TikTok Blinding Lights challenge. “Rona might be strong, but we’re stronger!” the dancing team wrote.

Their lively social media page is a snapshot of the country’s coronavirus and COVID-19 culture, where very serious, very frightening realities are being offset with lighthearted fun on social media and beyond.

Dance challenge videos are interspersed with encouraging chants of “Swab Squad,” the team’s moniker, and videos of emotional nurses and other staff sharing their feelings on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This experience… It’s scary,” one nurse says. “There’s a lot of anxiety about bringing it home to our family and our loved ones.”

“It’s been a very scary but super exciting experience to have been part of this COVID-19 site here with Jefferson in Center City,” says another one of the team’s medical assistants.

“We all signed up to take care of people, and unfortunately right now during COVID-19 taking care of people looks a little different,” says one staff member. “But that doesn’t change how committed we are to the process and to our jobs.”

On every post, serious or funny, the TJUH Pool staff members repeat two encouraging hashtag reminders: #together #wegotthis.

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