|The Daily Patriot|
This year, Nurses Week has a whole new meaning.
By Renee McInnes
Posted May 6, 2020
The World Health Assembly designated 2020 the “International Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. Little did they know how truly deserving this designation would be. If ever there were a time to celebrate nurses, it is now.
The COVID-19 pandemic has attacked and sent shockwaves throughout the entire world, especially through the healthcare community. Every day, nurses are on the frontlines treating patients and slowing the spread of the virus. They are demonstrating clinical skill and innovation. They are learning and applying quickly changing guidelines. Nurses are responding as they always have, with talent and courage.
In addition to the science of nursing, they are also demonstrating the art of healing, generosity and kindness. A frequent nurse concern is that their patients cannot see their faces under the masks. They are worried that they cannot convey the emotional support that is inherent in great nursing care.
This is possibly the most challenging time in all nurses’ careers. In addition to a nationwide shortage of nurses and a short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), there’s a very real fear that the influx of patients could leave hospitals struggling to handle the demand. That’s why nurses – former, current and aspiring – are being called on to serve on the frontlines. Former nurses are being offered accelerated re-certification programs, current nurses are now permitted to practice across state lines, and some governors have even signed executive orders to expedite nursing students’ entry into the workforce. It’s more apparent than ever just how critical nurses are to our communities
Every year the country celebrates National Nurses Week from May 6 to May 12, Nightingale’s birthdate, but given the current circumstances this year feels less like a celebration and more like a profound “thank you.”
Nursing is one of the most trusted professions and nurses serve throughout their patients’ health care journeys. Within the healthcare system they lie at the intersection of the heart and the mind and work tirelessly to identify and safeguard the needs of their patients. The profession is constantly evolving to address the needs of society and requires highly skilled, specialized and dedicated professionals.
As NVNA and Hospice enters its 100th-year anniversary, we do so with a strengthened sense of purpose. I’m honored to work alongside so many incredible nurses, physicians, therapists and other vital clinicians that have dedicated their lives to promoting health and wellness on the South Shore. One hundred years later, nurses are still the heart of our organization; serving and caring for patients at the Pat Roche Hospice Home and wherever else a patient might call home.
I hope you’ll join me in honoring the nursing pioneers of the past and offering a heartfelt thank you to the nurses of today. They’re in our community, across the country and all around the world, and they are bravely battling this pandemic head on. Thank you for being our heroes and for fighting for another day. Happy Nurses Week!
Renee McInnes, RN, BS; is CEO of NVNA and Hospice in Norwell, which owns and operates the Pat Roche Hospice Home in Hingham. Visit nvna.org for more information.