I found out my neighbour was a nurse yesterday while chit-chatting and I was happy to remember that it’s Nurse Appreciation Week. After wishing her a happy one, she admitted that I was the first person to acknowledge it in her presence. We can do better than this, can’t we?
There have been major accomplishments made recently with regards to normalizing mental health, recognizing pregnancy loss, standing up for cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, women’s reproductive rights and all sorts of medical-related social advancements. And we’re great at recognizing the victims and patients. But it’s time to also champion those that support us from the sidelines. RNs! These angels are undervalued and overshadowed. Yes, doctors are important and deserve the praise and recognition for their incredible talents but so do nurses. Behind the scenes, nurses remain composed even in the most uncomfortable situations; patients with dementia, communicable diseases and incontinence. They maintain professional status even with uncooperative patients. They ensure supplies are available, clean and used properly, they talk to us and our families (more than the doctors most of the time), and they comfort us and ensure our well-being beyond medical practice. They support doctors. And in Canada, they do this during irregular shifts while spending their time in socialized hospital conditions (don’t get me wrong, Canada’s healthcare system is awesome but hospitals aren’t elite spas). Let’s say thanks to nurses, nursing students and clinicians this week, and of course, going forward.
I’m lucky enough to be so healthy I don’t see nurses on a regular basis but when I do, I’m grateful. I’ve made cookies for the nurses who took care of a family member and I was humbled at how small a gesture it was when I was able to witness them changing wound dressings, IV equipment and dealing with other biological tasks most of us gag at. Here are more ideas on how you can celebrate on the Canadian Nurses Association website. This week, let’s use the hashtag: #YESThisIsNursing and show some love to the teams that support us when we need it most.