National Nurses Week 2022: The Backbone of Healthcare
National Nurses Week is celebrated between May 6, National Nurses Day, and May 12, the birthdate of nurse Florence Nightingale. Nurses help deliver babies, assist with life-threatening ER crises, and, most importantly, are a pillar of support during your child’s cancer journey. Nurses specializing in cancer care are experts in chemotherapy, radiotherapy, side effects management, pain control, and general medical care of patients throughout their cancer treatment. Highly trained nurses take on the burden of some of the most complex and heartbreaking tasks in the medical world. As workers who perform essential healthcare tasks, nurses serve as the first point of contact for most patients. National Nurses Week honors their contributions and sacrifices and reminds us to thank these well-trained medical professionals who provide front-line health care!
The Role of Nurses in Cancer Treatment
Never is teamwork more critical than in nursing, especially during cancer care. Nurses work not only with one another but also with physicians, therapists, technicians, and others to facilitate healing and alleviate suffering. They all share a common goal, compassionate care for the well-being of the patient and the family. Did you know that nurses that specialize in caring for cancer patients actively take steps to get additional training and expertise? For example, amid rapid developments in treatments, technologies, and patient-care modalities, hematology/oncology nurses must show they’re up to date with emerging medical advancements in their field. Hematology/Oncology nurse certification is one of the ways nurses demonstrate their commitment to the art and science of patient-centered oncology care.
Specifically, RNs (Registered Nurses) or (APNs Advanced Practice Nurses) take additional education and certification in the specialty of cancer care or hematology/oncology. The process of accreditation involves a qualifying exam and continuing evidence of ongoing education and nursing practice. Pediatric cancer nurses are trained to understand all the factors involved in caring for kids with cancer such as leukemia, brain tumors, bone cancer, and more. They perform assessments, administer chemotherapy and other medications, monitor for side effects, and educate patients and families about diagnosis and treatment.
These nurses can be found in the hospital setting (inpatient unit and outpatient clinic), physician’s office, home health care, radiation center, or hospice/ palliative care service. Aside from administering physical treatment, hematology/oncology nurses possess skills to assess psychosocial needs and teach and support the patient through their treatment. Nurses come up with strategies to alleviate nausea/vomiting and pain, help a child/young adult with hair loss (body image), administer blood/blood products to alleviate anemia or thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) or support a patient through hospice/palliative care. Nurses are the essential backbone to care for children with cancer. They are the bearers of critical information to both patients and physicians.
How Can We Appreciate Our Nurse?
In most cases, Nurses are selfless. They typically do not expect anything extra for the care and help they provide, especially in the last few years when healthcare workers had to fully commit themselves to their front-line duties during the pandemic. When someone takes the time to thank you, even in the simplest ways, it has a massive impact on a nurse’s life. Now is the perfect opportunity to give a little back to a nurse who has touched your life.
Here are some Nurse “preferred” ways you can show your appreciation:
- Handwritten Note – Your words are one of the most personal and easiest gifts for nurses. When someone takes the time to pen their thoughts and express their gratitude, it can profoundly affect someone. In addition, it serves as a historical piece to remember the family, and remember their story.
- Sweets and/or Healthy Snacks! – Yum, who doesn’t love a good box of chocolates, candy, a fruit bouquet, or a fruit basket to snack on during a long shift? Of course, everyone loves sweets, but healthcare workers often need to care for their health. An assortment of healthy snacks such as protein bars, nuts, fruits, and veggies can help keep up energy during a busy, extended shift.
- A Little Bling – Fun decorations for a nurse’s stethoscope are a great way to thank a nurse. A stethoscope is an extension of a nurse and is required to do many aspects of the job. Nurses can usually be seen around the unit or office with a stethoscope draped around their neck or plugged in the ears as a patient is being examined. There are tons of simple, inexpensive options to dress up a stethoscope. It also helps make your stethoscope more unique and recognizable, so they don’t lose it.
- CAFFEINE! – Not many nurses can get through 12+ hour shifts, weekends away from family, and night shifts without some caffeine to keep them going. A gift card for their favorite coffee place, a mug with a bag of coffee, or a freshly brewed cup can go a long way. You can even send a gift card through email!
- Compression socks – Compression socks make a great gift to thank a nurse. They are on their feet all day, tiring their legs and feet. A good pair of compression socks can make a difference in soothing aches and preventing swelling. It’s a gift that truly keeps on giving, and one pair can last a long time, providing many comfortable shifts.
As always remember that alongside your healthcare practitioners, Here to Serve can fill in gaps you may come across in the support you need during your child’s cancer journey. If you or a loved one needs compassionate care at home with meals, children, home, yard, finances, and so much more during medical treatment, do not hesitate to contact Here To Serve. Click on the Get Help button from our homepage to receive support! On behalf of Here To Serve we wish all Nurses a very Happy Nurses Week!
Florence Nightingale Nurses Pledge
“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care”.
By Sameera Rangwala, M.S., M.P.H
About the Author
Sameera Rangwala spent 15 years in the biotech industry. As a scientist and research professional, she uses her skills to blog and provides words of support to the cancer community.
All content on this blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.