Every Day Should Be Nurses Day!
Nurses Week 2021!
May 6 through May 12, 2021, is National Nurses Week, with May 12 being International Nurses Day. How vital are nurses to us, our health care system, and hospitals? Your hospital stay or that of a loved one can be made or broken by the nursing care you receive. A caring and devoted nurse is worth his/her weight in gold. This is especially true for nurses of pediatric cancer patients and their parents. A caring nurse is the eyes and ears of your doctor. They often catch things before the doctor does. A dedicated and attentive nurse is a gift from God. Nursing can be a heartbreaking job day in and day out. Some may not realize the emotional toll it can take when caring for patients, especially critically ill children.
Celebrate a Nurse You Know
Caregivers of children with cancer know all too well the value of the nursing staff who help their children manage toxic cancer treatments. The challenge of nursing has been made more complicated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Many nurses experience burnout. So take a moment to recognize the immeasurable value a nurse has on the lives of others. Show them kindness, respect, and compassion. Let them know you appreciate them. You never know when you may need a gifted nurse to bring you or a family member through a medical crisis.
Florence Nightingale, the Catalyst for Professional Nursing
National Nurses Week was established in 1982 by then-President Ronald Reagan in honor of the pioneering work of nurse Florence Nightingale. The annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday, May 12. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was born in Florence, no doubt attributing to her name; her parents were from England, and she was born while they were traveling. Florence Nightingale was a social reformer and statistician best known as the founder of modern nursing.
Her experiences as a nurse during the Crimean War were foundational in her view of the need for sanitation. In 1860, she laid the foundation for professional nursing by helping to establish the nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, which is now part of King’s College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge, taken by new nurses, was named in her honor. So, too, is the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve. Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women, and expanding female participation in the workforce.
Celebrating Julie Walden, ICU R.N.
Julie Walden, R.N. is a retired nurse from UCLA where she worked for over 25 years. She worked as a bedside nurse helping ICU patients. She was also a preceptor helping train young nurses during that time. Leaning on the challenges she faced as a young nurse, Julie’s compassion spilled over into her training style of younger nurses. Julie has a charming and calm demeanor; she went into nursing to help others, a trait intrinsic to her nature since she was very young. Coming out of retirement to work in home health care has been brought back the satisfaction she missed from direct patient care. She has recently decided to retire once more to take care of her mother, who now needs full-time care.
Some of the challenges she shared were the emotional toll of feeling compassion for every patient. She learned to compartmentalize and keep her personal life balanced with her work life. As the years went on, lifting heavy patients in ICU began to take its toll on her body. She decided to retire to enjoy travel, gardening, sewing, and creating mosaics. When asked if she would do it all over again, it was a resounding “yes!” When asked how we could best show our appreciation to nurses, she said, “If patients would just wear their masks, get vaccinated, not be mean to nurses, and thank them, they are doing what they need to do.”
Consider What Nurses Endure
During National Nurses Week, take a moment to reflect on what nurses endure to help others during our most significant time of need. Return the compassion they provide to so many and maintain respectfulness and understanding. Here to Serve is dedicated to providing respectful, compassionate care for families of children with pediatric cancer. Please reach out if you need help or know of someone who needs help. If you wish to help with a donation or volunteering, please click here.
By Amanda Enciso