Image is the face of a profession, the way that profession appears to other disciplines and to the general public— the consumers of health care.
The public views of nursing and nurses are typically based on personal experiences with nurses, which can lead to a narrow view of a nurse often based only on a brief personal experience. This experience may not provide an accurate picture of all that nurses can and do provide in the healthcare delivery process. There is always less representation and recognition of the other complex professional aspects of nursing. Whereas contrary to that image, nursing professionals actually have a dynamic role in all aspects of healthcare delivery system. Nurses play a pivotal part in in achieving the healthcare goals by being the most important link in the process of health care delivery. Their work ranges from providing not only highly specific technical care, but also coordinating the work of other health care professionals to meet patient care goals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in May last year that 2020 would be dedicated to nurses and midwives. It chose the theme to coincide with the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale on 12 th of May. Unfortunately this year the outbreak of the COVID-19 infection happened across the world which took the lives of many people globally. The nursing response to the coronavirus (COVID -19) crisis has gone way beyond the core purpose of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurses and Midwives. The work put in by nurses in the COVID 19 crisis is a powerful and practical demonstration of the potential that nurses possess, to address big health care challenges, which the theme of nurses day this year aims to achieve.
The nurses response world-wide to this crisis has moved nursing into a global spotlight in a way that calling it ‘year of the nurse’ never would otherwise have been justified.
Nurses have proved to be the health warriors who have taken on the responsibility very willingly with their heart and soul. The profession is central to tackling the pandemic and, nurses in every country, have “stepped up and stepped beyond” their calling. They are working in the forefront and are managing patient screenings, placement as well the care of patients in the COVID zone. Nurses are working round the clock, pushing themselves to the limit and putting their lives on the line, very often with limited resources. The nature of the disease is such that, it implies visiting restrictions to the admitted patient because of the fear of rapid spread of infection. At vulnerable moments like these, it is the nurses who are holding the responsibility and accountability for providing reassurance to patients and networking between the patients’ needs and all other departments in the hospital.
The entire nursing community is in the risk zone & we have all seen the unprecedented levels of overwork by nurses, particularly those in intensive care units, those in management or those most directly involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, oftentimes without adequate rest and recuperation, without support and assistance, with limited considerations for their mental health and wellbeing. However, these responsibilities, accountability and challenges are so willingly and happily accepted by nurses.
Globally there is already a change to the way the world is viewing nurses and health care professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought nurses to the forefront of people’s minds and the media attention and public gratitude towards health care professionals is being captured on a daily basis. As not everyone understands what happens in a heath care facility, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the contribution of the nurses to health care prevention & promotion.
As proven to the world and the country, nurses continue to be the ones to share the burden of healthcare and are happy that their contribution is being acknowledged more than ever before. The image of the nursing community and society and the overall morale of nursing is getting significant acknowledgement and recognition during these challenging times. Nurses are very aware of the challenges of delivering high-quality care at a time of pandemic and have demonstrated how they can improve productivity with sustained high quality. We salute these healthcare warriors who work without any expectations and by sacrificing their personal life and family and for their contribution in saving lives and improving health outcomes.
I hope that nurses as a group, grow professionally and that enrolments into nursing profession increase. This year, 2020, being the year of the Nurse and Midwife & there is no time like the present to celebrate and be proud of the rewarding profession.
Col. Binu Sharma, Senior Vice President- Nursing Services, Columbia Asia Hospitals, India