Nurses have to be all things to all people. They provide care for the sick, injured and dying.
They are there to support patients’ families and communities. They diagnose conditions, assist in surgeries, provide mental support and fill many other key roles.
Nurses are often the first person on a healthcare staff to interact with patients, and sometimes the only health professional a patient will ever see.
The tasks a nurse perform can be challenging, dangerous and stressful. Their sacrifices are to be celebrated and thanked, which is why National Nurses Week was started.
Every year beginning May 6 and ending on May 12 – Florence Nightingale’s birthday – National Nurses Week is an opportunity for hospitals, clinics and communities to come together to thank nurses for having our back.
In the past two years, their challenging jobs became even more harrowing as they were placed on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these nurses saw more death than they had in their entire careers up to COVID-19.
In a poll of over 9,500 nurses across the nation conducted by the American Nurses Foundation, more than 34% of nurses rated their emotional health as not, or not at all, emotionally healthy. Seventy-five percent of the respondents said they have felt stressed, 69 percent felt frustrated and 62% felt overwhelmed. About half (42%) answered “yes” when asked if they have had an extremely stressful, disturbing, or traumatic experience due to COVID-19.
Many nurses have contracted the virus while treating others who are infected by it, and some have died. Other nurses have chosen to walk away from the profession or take a pause as the mental load became too much.
This is a profession that needs community support more than ever. We hope everyone takes a moment over the next week – and beyond – to thank a nurse.