International Nurses Day: Respect to the Heart of the Healthcare System

Sumeeta (name changed on request), a senior nurse at an exclusive COVID hospital in Bhubaneswar, has been working continuously for the last 12 days. She will serve for 10 more days before taking a short break.

Earlier she used to work in eight-hour shifts, but now she works for about 16 hours before calling it a day. When asked what keeps her motivated despite the long hours and hectic work pressure, she replies “The purpose to serve people. That is the reason I chose to be a nurse in the first place.”

When asked if she feels afraid, she thought for a moment and said, “I do get a little overwhelmed at times. Then I remember the words of Florence Nightingale – ‘How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.’ Her words have been close to me since my nursing studies, and even more so at this point of time.”

Today we celebrate the International Nurses Day 2020, which marks the 200th birth anniversary of the founder of modern nursing. Her prophetic words are more relevant today than ever before. Conquering their fears and sense of self amid one of the worst global pandemics, nurses have become the backbone of the healthcare system.

Their exposure to the patients and the virus is much higher than all frontline workers. They never had a more difficult time providing care, but they have risen to the challenge. Even on the hardest days, their dedication and patience towards their service does not go away.

Working silently and tirelessly, they do not expect a thank you note or public display of appreciation. A little gesture of appreciation and respect is the least one can do to acknowledge their skills, devotion, and sacrifices.

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi set a great example on March 27, when he made a phone call to a nurse at Pune’s Naidu hospital and praised the efforts of the entire hospital staff in fighting the pandemic. The audio conversation was widely shared on social media.

Recently our honourable Prime Minister retweeted a video showing an emotional moment for a Pune nurse as she received a rousing welcome from her family members and neighbours after 20 days of continuous work.

Soon afterwards, military helicopters flew over major COVID-19 hospitals, showered petals over them, and gave them aerial salutes. Military bands performed and warships illuminated thanking their efforts and sacrifices.

How you can celebrate International Nurses Day

Everyone can celebrate International Nurse Day in their own ways. Among the several ways, some of them are:

Social Media Posts

You can thank nurses by writing a social media post or a simple ‘Thank You’ using the hashtag #InternationalNursesDay. It is one of the best ways to express your appreciation and respect while maintaining social distancing.

Making telephone or video calls to your known contacts and paying your homage

You can call the nurses you know and pay your tribute by reading out poems for them, singing the Nightingale Prayer, discussing inspirational stories, or spreading positive vibes to cheer them up amid their busy schedules.

Showering flowers and clapping hands

Like the family members and neighbours of the Pune nurse, you can shower flowers and clap your hands to show your respect towards the nurses staying in your house or neighbourhood.

Shining a light

Recently, the entire country stood with candles, torches, and lamps to show solidarity and respect to the frontline workers. You can do the same on the International Nurses Day to show your appreciation and gratitude to nurses.

Wearing a Blue or Purple Ribbon Pin

Purple and blue ribbon represents advocacy and support. Wearing it, you will show your love and respect towards nurses, as well as your faith to win the fight against the pandemic. Wear your heart on your sleeve by purchasing or making your own blue or purple ribbon in ‘e-shape’ and pinning it to your clothes.

Staying at home and taking care of yourself

The best way we can celebrate the day is by staying at home and maintaining hand hygiene, practising social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and following government orders.

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