Whose job has really mattered over the past 14 months? Not that it’s a competition, but it’s become apparent during this pandemic which roles are crucial to the functioning of our society. Doctors, teachers, medical researchers, scientists, cashiers in grocery stores, many essential workers have not been able to simply “work from home” in their pyjamas like the rest of us.
Nurses are at the forefront of these essential services, as hospitals have been pushed to capacity with those suffering from COVID-19. It’s no wonder that the World Health Organization declared 2020 to be the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, which also coincided with what would have been the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820–1910).
Here’s why nurses deserve our thanks this International Nurse’s Day and beyond:
- They “hold hope” and communicate
Often a patient’s doctor has very little time to spend with the individual, and the nurse then steps in as the provider of information and communicator with the person’s loved ones. Their role is crucial in terms of providing emotional support as well as physical, as we all know how our mental and physical health are linked. This presence at a person’s bedside is invaluable, especially when visits from family members are restricted due to the pandemic.
When situations like this happen in the world, human beings can show a remarkable ability to adapt and innovate, and this is especially true in a healthcare scenario. Nurses are literally and figuratively at the forefront of this innovation, whether it’s redesigning the “model of care”, or changing the entire way they communicate with their fellow healthcare workers. Another medical innovation is the recent “hospital at home” service that Fedhealth launched, bringing the essential elements of in-patient care to a patient’s home, including providing nursing and the real-time monitoring of a person’s condition.
It’s not just about caring for the ill in hospital, nurses also play a significant role when it comes to educating people on how to prevent the spread of the virus. Whether it’s visiting schools and communities, training other healthcare patients with what they’ve learned or sharing their knowledge online, nurses play a key role in advancing our awareness of the virus.
- They’re putting their own lives at risk
There aren’t many jobs that are more selfless than a nurse. The International Council of Nurses announced in October 2020 that 1 500 nurses across 44 countries had passed away from the virus, estimating that the real global figure is probably closer to 20 000. Would you go into work each day, knowing that despite all the protective equipment and gear, you could contract COVID-19 yourself? Nurses do, and for this we owe them everything.
Nurses have suffered immensely during this pandemic, in terms of their mental and physical health, as they work together to care for us all. Their jobs are integral to our survival and it’s clear that we owe them all our thanks and support.