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.
There is no better time to celebrate the men and women who make up our nation’s nurses than now, as these everyday hero’s navigate COVID-19.
On The Frontlines
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.
Celebrating Our Heroes
On this day, and every day, we can support and celebrate nurses in many meaningful ways:
- Write a thank you letter to your nurse and her manager/hospital administrators!
- Make “thank you” signs and banners
- Participate in coordinated “applause” for nurses and healthcare workers within the hospital and within your community
- Honk horns, sing a song, or coordinate with local hospitals to organize a car parade
- Salute those in your neighborhood who are a nurse or healthcare worker with handmade yard signs of appreciation
- Donate to organizations that are addressing the needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
One nurse shared with us that sometimes the biggest ‘thank yous’ come in the smallest of packages, “My grandma used to send me a card on Nurses Day every year and I always felt so special. Something as simple as being remembered can go a long way.”
In the day and age 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. Together, we can simply remember them and thank them for the powerful role they play in our society, not only in the knowledge and care they deliver, but in the compassion and love they bring with them to work each day. While their job takes a whole lotta head, it is clear to all of us here at Generation Mindful that nursing is a work of heart.
If you are a nurse or you know and love a nurse, please enter them in our Nursing Is A Work of Heart GIVEAWAY which runs through May 12th, Florence Nightengale’s birthday... one of the great pioneers of nursing.
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