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Frontline Warriors: How Nurses are Saving the World

Frontline Warriors: How Nurses are Saving the World

Happy International Nurses Day! Acknowledging the dedication of nurses across the globe seems a fitting way to round out Nurses Week 2021. Through my nearly three decades as a nurse, I cannot recall a time when the recognition of hard work, sacrifice, and commitment nurses exhibit daily has ever been so publicly promoted as it has throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From media stories on nurses giving up their full-time positions to travel to regions hit hardest with COVID-19 to assist their peers—to the WHO designating 2020 The Year of the Nurse—to community members rallying to celebrate and support hospital staff as they enter and leave their shifts, a greater awareness of the complexities of the nursing profession has emerged.

As stated by ICN President Annette Kennedy, “Politicians understand the cost of educating and maintaining a professional nursing workforce, but only now are many of them recognizing their true value.” While no one enters into nursing for notoriety or recognition, it is well deserved and greatly appreciated.

Even more incredibly, these great feats of caring, compassion, empathy, strength, and resilience are present at a time when much of the world is suffering from a nursing shortage. Amidst the pandemic in April of 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO), International Council of Nurses, and Nursing Now reported a global nursing shortage of nearly 6 million nurses. Unarguably, the geography and environments each of us work in vary across the globe but the commitment to give of oneself to care for others remains consistent—sometimes with great personal risk.

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While the term "nurse" generally conjures up an image of the bedside nurse, we would be remiss to not include and celebrate nurses contributing in a multitude of additional ways. The nursing professional operating outside of the healthcare facility setting faces a unique set of challenges due to situational and environmental factors; contexts like home health, public health, school nursing, hospice, and critical care transport roles are all prime examples.

Within the hospital walls, nurses in a multitude of departments play very important roles in ensuring our patients are provided the care they need as they enter our doors. Administration, unit leadership, service line leadership and staff, emergency preparedness/management, infectious disease, education, house supervisors, staff and patient scheduling, outpatient clinics, telemedicine, advance practice, research, case management, rehabilitation, clinical informatics, occupational health, transfer center, and quality assurance are some of a multitude of possible nursing roles. Not as visible to patients or even their fellow nurses, the work they do creates the framework and foundation for excellence in care.

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Nurses serve as the best advocates for ourselves, our peers, and our patients when we become active partners with other healthcare providers to achieve optimal working environments and patient outcomes. The best partnerships include not only staff within the healthcare facility walls but extend to those working outside of those walls to ensure collaboration, optimal patient outcomes, and provider fulfillment.

My greatest wish for my fellow nursing professionals today, this week, and this year:

Be proud.

Be patient.

Be kind.

Be safe.

You already are all of those things for your patients. Be them for yourself and your peers.

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Want to learn how nurses and care teams around the world are improving patient care, reducing treatment times, and enhancing team coordination and communication? See what EvergreenHealth, Ambulance Victoria, and Teller County healthcare teams are doing here

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