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As I prepare to pen this article, I am reminded of Hippocrates’ saying. He believed that the goal of medicine is “to cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.” For me, learned exactly this through daily example from the amazing nurses I work with.
For many of us, wet from amniotic fluid, our first breath was in the hands of nurses. Those hands dried us and kept us warm and watched us grow to become who we are today. The circle of life continues until we meet the nurse again in the labour ward and then again in the deathbed.
Night in and night out nurses have displayed heroism by staying back and working tirelessly during hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters while others took refuge with their homes and families.
They have left their crying toddlers to help deliver babies of the fervent mothers. These are the same people who leave their sick parent and families to put the needs of their patients first. They are mostly the ones who clean the diapers of the young and old while caring for families whose loved ones have taken their last breath.
This dedication and sacrifice have at many times goes unnoticed. Nurses are frequently the victims of workplace violence. Workplace violence injury rates have nearly doubled for nurse assistants and nurses, according to data from Centre of Disease Control and Prevention. Instead of appreciating, oftentimes patients, their and friends criticise nurses both in-person and on social media. Frontline and emergency departments nurses are the most vulnerable, often encountering abuse more frequently than others.
In a WHO-commissioned report, it was found that one-third of Swedish nurses have experienced violence at some point within their careers. In British Columbia nurses have nearly four times the incidence of violence of any other profession. Put simply, nurses are at the greatest risk of becoming a victim of some form of violence.
However, this has never hindered nurses from returning to work the next day with a smile. Many of us have failed to realise that they are the people who have stayed awake to care for our sick while we catch up with a nap. They spend more time in hospital than with their own families.
Nurses sacrifice their health on a daily basis by exposing themselves to blood-borne pathogens, injuries and cold and flu germs. On top of this, one in five nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants have been forced to skip meals to meet the needs of their patient.
Despite being impaired by fatigue, loss of sleep and daytime sleepiness, these heroes have never deterred from their commitment to serve the sick and needy. Hence, before trolling negativity and abuse toward nurses, just remember: nurses didn’t become a nurse because it’s easy, for the pay, for the working hours, for the respect or for acknowledgement.
They became nurses because they care, they are passionate about health and they are good at what they do. They have dedicated their lives to caring for others.
Nurses are our everyday heroes, who deserve recognition gratitude and respect.
Please join me in thanking our nurses.
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