National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6th, providing an opportunity to thank nurses for the contributions they offer daily to serve the health and well-being of others, and to educate the public about the important role nurses play in our lives.
With National Nurses Day upon us, there is no better time to celebrate the men and women who make up our nation’s nurses than as they navigate this new time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When a coronavirus patient ends up in the hospital, it is often the nursing staff at the frontlines who are responsible for treatment and care.
According to the president of the International Council of Nurses, Annette Kennedy, “COVID-19 has put into even sharper focus the work of nurses. As carers, healers, educators, leaders, and advocates, nurses are fundamental to the provision of safe, accessible, and affordable care. Today and every day, nurses across the world are carrying on their vital work caring for patients, regardless of the very real personal risks they face.”
One New York-based nurse, Grace Oghiehor-Enoma, states, “It’s like you’re going into the battlefield. You see the fire, and you’re running into the fire, not thinking about yourself. That is the selflessness that you can see in nursing today.”
And while times may have changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, the core values of the nursing profession have not. Nurses are continuing to provide high quality, respectful treatment. In addition to the normal duties within their scope, nurses are also reorganizing floors to open more beds for COVID-19 patients, while keeping other patients, including women in labour, safe. They are taking stock of equipment and lending it across units. Throughout the nation, we see nurses treat their patients with clinical excellence while delivering care with compassion.
According to a member of the Daisy Foundation, which offers the Daisy Award to celebrate nurses and support nursing research, “We are in touch with numerous nurse leaders these days, and each one tells us of pride in their nurses’ courage, dedication to patients and the teamwork nurses so naturally bring to caring for patients and each other. We hear that even during this time of social distancing, nurses are still providing the human connection patients need to help them heal as they navigate illness and pandemic fear.”
The foundation reports an unusually high number of nominations for the Daisy Award during this time, “which is testimony to the fact that nurses continue to provide above-and-beyond care no matter what. Nominations also show that patients want and need to say thank you.”
So why are nurses so committed to what they do? One nurse shares, “It is in seeing the patients recover and return to their families.”
To keep morale up, nurses across the nation have been dancing when a patient comes off a ventilator, breaking into song when a COVID-19 patient has been discharged or using TikTok to boost spirits on hospital floors.
Ways to celebrate our nurses:
On this day, and every day, we can support and celebrate our nurses in various ways:
- Engage in social media channels to record a meaningful message
- Write a thank you letter
- Make signs and banners and hang them in the community
- Participate in coordinated applause for nurses and healthcare workers within the hospital and locally within communities
- Honk horns, sing a song or offer a parade near local hospitals
- Salute those in your neighborhood who are a nurse or healthcare worker
- Donate to organizations that are addressing the needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
One nurse shares that sometimes the biggest ‘thank yous’ come in small packages, “My grandma used to send me a card on Nurses Day every year. Something simple can go a long way.”
And in the time of the coronavirus, another nurse shares, “I am not sure how I would want to be celebrated other than hearing that people are doing their part to help minimize the spread of the virus. At the end of the day, like everyone else, I just want us all to get through this, and hopefully learn a thing or two. That will call for a celebration!”
May 6th starts a weeklong celebration of nurses to thank them for the powerful influence they play in our society, not only in their knowledge and execution of care but in their compassionate bedside manner and altruistic nature. In ways big and small, we can choose to support and celebrate our nation’s nurses today, and every day. While their job takes a whole lotta head, it is clear that nursing is a work of heart.
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