Plans to recognize and celebrate nurses during the World Health Organization's 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and the annual National Nurses Week (May 6-May 12) in the United States were made long before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed life on a global scale. It's not easy to be joyous when so many nurses and other healthcare professionals have lost their lives. But the work of nurses and all healthcare professionals is more vital than ever and deserving of our gratitude now. As one intensivist physician commented on Medscape:
I would like to go on record stating that ICU nurses are the biggest heroes in this pandemic. They spend far more time in the rooms of COVID-19 patients than the physicians do. The burden of family support also falls to them, a fact that is underappreciated. I am amazed that they do all this without complaint (in my experience), while maintaining a sense of humor. When the focus seems to be on the MDs, I find myself asking: Why aren't we talking about the RNs more? PAPRs off to you!
Another physician wrote, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you are doing and teaching and taking home, and still returning each day."
In Harm's Way
Nurses are used to being at the "sharp end" of healthcare, but now that sharp end has turned around and threatens them directly. SARS-CoV-2 has brought unparalleled challenges, with more to come. In spite of fears that they will spread the virus to others, the well-documented PPE scarcity, the tragic events they have witnessed, and the thousands of nurses who have been furloughed or lost their jobs, nurses have remained overwhelmingly hopeful and positive.
Read what a few nurses had to say about how the pandemic has affected them.
Katie M. Kline, RN
This pediatric intensive care nurse in Richmond, Virginia, writes:
Working during a pandemic has opened my eyes to how the public truly views nursing and the power of our role. I approach my current job with a tighter focus on minimizing the spread of infection, protecting myself, and educating those around me. Now more than ever, it's important to give clear, concise information.
Sipho Moyo, RN
Moyo, an emergency department nurse from Nottingham, United Kingdom, writes:
This pandemic has been a shock to me. As a nurse, I've seen SARS and swine flu, but nothing like this. We work in fear—for our lives, for our colleagues, for the patients, and for the public. We've had PPE shortages throughout, and testing is still a challenge. But the pandemic has made me stronger. I look at life differently and value it more than ever before.
Amanda Cooley, RN
This nursing supervisor from Pennsylvania wakes up "with a pit of anxiety in my stomach when heading to the frontline. But I'd still have made the choice to be a nurse."
Rosemary Crain, MSN, RN
Crain, a nurse from Florida, writes:
The pandemic has honestly reignited my passion for nursing. Knowing that I can care for others when they are at their sickest is the reason I became a nurse, and now I am needed more than ever.
So true. Please join us in expressing appreciation for nurses in the comments.
Medscape © 2020 WebMD, LLC
Any views expressed above are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of WebMD or Medscape.
Cite this: No Better Time to Thank Our Nurses - Medscape - May 05, 2020.