Every year on April 7, the World Health Organization chooses a theme to bring awareness and recognition to a specific area in the health and wellness industry. This year, the World Health Organization will celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The purpose of this year’s theme will be to honor and raise the work of nurses and midwives across all continents. Given the current state of our public health and amid a global pandemic, this year’s honors seem to be more than appropriate and well suited.
Personally, I do not have much experience with midwives. However, some of my friends have partnered with midwives during childbirth and can’t share enough praises for the support and importance of having an experienced person to advocate for them during their own birthing experience. Please, let us not forget the important work of midwives.
Like many of you, I do have enough experience with nurses to know that not all nurses are created equal. I’m sure many of you can relate to having an experience with a nurse that was snippy over the phone while calling into the pediatrician’s office with a concern about your child. Or, the nurse that made you feel inadequate and seemed annoyed for asking a question during a routine check-up. Mostly, through my experience, I have learned that many nurses work hard to care for their patients and those that do, deserve more than just the recognition of doing their jobs. Many nurses work back to back, exhausting, 12-hour shifts to support the needs of patients each week. The long hours don’t even begin to include the charting responsibilities or being on the front lines of an emerging global pandemic.
I’ll always remember the nurses that have cared for me and my family with compassion, concern and have gone above and beyond their responsibilities to support us. When I was in labor with my daughter, I remember the concerned look on the nurse’s face when my temperature spiked and I needed an emergency c-section. She held my hand and let me cry while comforting me and letting me know it would be ok. I can’t forget the night nurse that held my daughter all night long in the nursery so I could sleep and recover after a traumatic birth. And, the nurse that welcomed my son’s arrival at the hospital with a carefully decorated bassinet, will have a special place in my heart. I won’t forget the compassion a nurse at our pediatrician’s office had when giving each of my kids their flu shots, so delicately, that they didn’t even cry. The same nurse, cared for my daughter when she was so sick from strep throat, in the most tender way, making my daughter so comfortable she fell asleep in my arms while we were awaiting further instruction.
In the current moment of our world and in the middle of a health pandemic, I am thinking about the nurses that are on the front lines caring for those that are sick. Dedicated nurses today, will go into work preparing to be exposed to a virus that could kill. Sacrificing their own health and isolating themselves from their own families, to care for people that they have never met.
The dedication, kindness, nurturing, protective nature and selflessness of nurses deserve more than just recognition on this day, for the important, lifesaving, work they perform.
As the World Health Organization has promoted, let us honor those nurses and midwives that advocate for us, take care of us and our loved ones and sacrifice their own health to care for ours. Thank a nurse or midwife you may know or show your support on social media with the #SupportNursesAndMidwives.