Around the world, the nursing profession joins in celebration of the International Year of Nurse and Midwife in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The World Health Organization designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife to celebrate the work nurses and midwives do, highlight the challenges they face, and advocate for increased investments in the workforce.
What a year it’s been, and it’s only the beginning of May. Nurses (along with other members of the healthcare team) have been at the forefront fighting the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and as a result the world has started to recognize the vital role that nurses play in delivering healthcare. They’ve also seen some of the challenges nurses face with gaining access to the supplies needed to protect themselves and safely care for patients.
Traditionally, we celebrated Nurses Week during the second week in May, but this year the American Nurses Association decided to extend the celebration for the entire month. Why? Because in their words, “one week is not enough.” The month-long celebration expands opportunities to recognize the contributions of nurses, educate communities about the role of nurses, encourage professional development, and inspire future generations to the profession. It also provides the opportunity to encourage nurses to care for themselves, something they often neglect as they’re busy caring for others.
As we enter Nurses Month, nurses continue to weather the Covid-19 storm. Many are exhausted, overwhelmed, and afraid for themselves, their families, coworkers, and friends. They’ve witnessed scenes common to a battlefield, not a healthcare facility. How will you and your nursing leadership team approach Nurses Month this year? What will you do differently?
Our role as nursing leaders includes caring for our staff; being there among them, listening to them, and supporting them. Perhaps, this year instead of giving another water bottle, tote bag, or penlight in celebration, it means asking staff what they want during an exhausting shift. It might be as simple as a cup of coffee, a slice of pizza, or a short break to call home to say goodnight to a young child they miss dearly. It might be giving them time to meditate to overcome anxiety. It might be hand-writing a thank you note for each staff member to let them know how much you appreciate their dedication to their patients, coworkers, and the profession. A simple act of caring goes a long way, and when we care for our staff, they can better care for our patients and our community. We’d love to hear how you’re celebrating your nursing staff this year.
Happy Nurses month to each and every one of you! You’re true heroes, and I’ve never been more proud to be a part of the nursing profession!
Lippincott Solutions note: for the latest coverage on Covid-19 by the Lippincott Nursing team, please visit nursingcenter.com/coronavirus.
About the author
Collette Bishop Hendler, RN, MS, MA, CIC, Editor-in-Chief, Lippincott Solutions, Point-of-Care, is certified by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. as an Infection Preventionist. She has more than 15 years’ experience in critical care nursing and maintains Alumnus Status as a Critical-Care Registered Nurse.