To: Our extraordinary nurses,
Nurses Change Lives, And that changes everything.
It was 1854 and the British government was entrenched in a bloody battle called the Crimean war. Florence Nightingale served as a volunteer on one of the floors on the wards where the soldiers were brought after they had been injured. Unlike women of her generation, she had been educated and what she witnessed inspired her to pen a letter to the British government in which she wrote, ‘If you had wanted to create a place worse than hell you have thus succeeded.’ For what she saw around her was that the soldiers were not dying of the injuries they sustained on the battlefield but were dying of the death, disease, and infection that seemed to follow the physician from the bedside to the bedside to the bedside as he did not wash his hand or sterilize his medical equipment.
Conventional medical practice at the time believed that if you could not see it, it did not exist and that germs were simply a figment of one’s imagination. But Florence Nightingale knew something was fundamentally wrong and without the support of her physician colleagues, she implemented a policy of hygiene and sanitation among her support staff. She proved that washing hands and sterilization of medical equipment does not only decreases the rate of death and disease but the century-long conventional medical practice had been wrong. Florence Nightingale challenged conventional medical practice. She challenged the status quo to find nursing, and she officially led medicine out of the dark ages of practice and forever fundamentally changed the future of science, history, and medicine with the establishment of the profession of Nursing.
At the dawn of the AIDS epidemic, no one knew the disease spread or how to cure it. So, patients were kept quarantined and alone, until nurses defied convention and embrace them with compassion.
During the Ebola outbreak the disease was thought by many to be too contagious to treat until a student nurse used what she had on-hand; garbage bags and duct tape, to protect herself so, she could care for others.
Nurses are changing the world by asking how can I help? How can I alleviate the suffering around me? Nurse care for the patient and their loved ones. She is there when you close your eyes before the surgery and open them later. She is there to hold your hand at every step of the treatment. She is there when every second matter. She is there when you take your first step towards recovery. She helps deliver your first baby and the second. She is there to tell you; your new heart has arrived. She cares when you are a preemie and when you are graduating from pre-K. She shares in your pain and joy. Your smile makes her smile.
Nurses are not average people in average jobs. They are our everyday heroes who help make magic happen. They are much more than all the years of learning, dedication, and skill it takes to care for the patients. They are motivators, supporters, innovators and experts. They give patients and families comfort, support and strength. They provide a caring touch and countless smiles and they do it all selflessly, all day, every day. Because they see the world through the eyes of their patients.
With the nurses the demands are too high, the hours too tough, the problems too complex and the pressure too intense. They stand apart with their willingness to sacrifice, to embrace their role in the bigger picture. They have the ability to look at the cancer patient who is worn down from chemotherapy and to know just the right thing to say. To talk to a child who is going into surgery and assure him everything is going to be fine. To push back the sore feet, headaches and any obstacles to keep performing at levels that seem almost superhuman. The caretaker. The problem solver. The family counselor. The friend. Not many people can do what they are doing. they give us smiles, hugs and love. Expecting nothing in return.
So, if you haven’t heard it lately:
Thank you, nurses.
You inspire us daily.
Thank you for our extraordinary care.
Thank you for comforting our newborns.
Thank you for your expert and nurturing care.
Thanks for taking care of our parents.
Thank you for staying with us during our chemotherapy.
Thank you for staying awake by our side while we were asleep.
Thank you for working extra hours to take care of us.
Thank you for keeping us safe.
Thank you for knowing just what we need.
Thank you, for all you do.