Our View: Nurses never faltered during pandemic

The people at the forefront of the pandemic deserve thanks

This week's editorial

The last 13 months have been tough for everyone. They’ve been tougher if you’re a first responder. Tougher still if you’re a nurse – no one has shouldered more responsibility in the struggle with COVID-19.

This year, May 10 to 16 is National Nursing Week, the week closest to the May 12 birthday of Florence Nightingale.

(In 1971, the International Council of Nurses designated May 12 as International Nurses Day.)

It’s a time to consider the roles nurses and nursing care plays in all our lives – there’s almost no one who won’t be helped by a nurse in their lifetime.

Nurses are there for the first breath many of us take, ensuring health and safety alongside doctors and midwives. And they’re there at the end, in long-term care, hospice, and hospital wards, whether it’s working to save lives or simply to ease pain at the end.

The pandemic has brought into stark focus the work nurses do. We know, if we think of it, that it is hard work, skilled work, and often emotionally taxing work.

It’s also work that often goes unremarked. When we’re in the hospital, or a loved one is ill, we remember how much the nurses are doing, and we’re grateful, but in between those moments of family crisis, it’s easy to forget.

The coronavirus has made it impossible to forget our nurses.

“This global COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world the important role that nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan,” noted Annette Kennedy, president of the International Council of Nurses.

We’re still in our third wave here in B.C., and while we have hopes of returning to something like normal soon, none of us who have lived through this pandemic year will ever forget the contribution made by all our medical workers, particularly the nurses – the ones who’ve been at the front of the frontlines through it all.

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