It’s been a long 2.5 years for nurses. Let’s not forget our frontline heroes on National Nurses Day 2022.
Not long ago- though it may not seem it- 2020 was declared the “Year of the Nurse” by all and sundry.
Nurses, along with doctors and other medical professionals- but mostly nurses- were near-universally acknowledged as our heroes of the Covid19 pandemic.
For a brief moment, one unfairly-overlooked professional group of people received at least some of the credit and appreciation they so richly deserve.
What would we have done without nurses in 2020? And, let’s face it, what would we have done without them in 2021? And, so far, in 2022?
In 2020, with signs and handmade posters, grateful community members stood outside hospitals in throngs to show support for medical staff members working long hours, separated from their families, risking Covid19 exposure, and coping with the unexpected trials of a global pandemic.
We put up billboards, we waved banners. Artists created huge public murals dedicated to the heroism and commitment of America’s frontline healthcare workers.
With one voice, we boomed a heartfelt “Thank You!”.
Volunteers, non-profits, companies and faith institutions alike organized showings of support from feeding hungry hospital workers to marketing campaigns encouraging everyone to, “be kind to the frontline”.
What have we done for nurses lately?
Yesterday’s frontline heroes are today’s frontline heroes- tomorrow’s too. Health care workers, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were essential workers in every sense of the word in 2020, during the scariest days of the pandemic.
They still are.
Our experienced, educated, compassionate and dedicated medical healthcare workers are one of our nation’s most valuable human resources.
Covid19 isn’t completely over. Unless a cure is found, it will be with us forever like so many other diseases and viruses which routinely threaten humanity. There may be a new variant at any time. Worse, Covid19 isn’t likely to be our last global pandemic.
Though our response compared to Covid19 was radically different, the U.S. has already lived through several other pandemics in recent years; Swine Flu, also known as H1N1, in 2009, SARS, and MERS, just to name a few.
Covid19 isn’t likely to be humanity’s last brush with our sole natural predator: Disease.
Looking ahead, we need our doctors, nurses and frontline healthcare workers now more than ever; in fact we need more of them.
Nursing is a taxing profession, stressful and even dangerous at times. For many nurses and other medical staff members, every shift happens on the front lines, pandemic or no.
In nursing, every single day is a battle against some epidemic or other.
Disease, violence, addiction, poverty, homelessness, untreated mental illness; people who choose to pursue the nursing profession are- knowingly and selflessly- enlisting to fight on the front lines of each of these conflicts.
This National Nurses Day, Friday May 13, show your appreciation hasn’t waned in the many months since we first heard the dreaded word, “Coronavirus”.
Gratitude is a beautiful gift. Few deserve that gift more than the professional care-givers who treat ailing and frightened patients from hospice to the ER to the maternity ward and back again 365 days a year, every year, come pandemic or high water.
Let’s not forget to say “Thank You”.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)