Nurse Appreciation Day – History, Importance, More

Nurse Appreciation Day

Florence Nightingale, who is also known as the lady with the lamp and the founder of modern nursing, once said that “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the body? The temple of god’s spirits? It is one of the fine arts: I had almost said, the finest of fine arts.”  We will discuss Nurse Appreciation Day here in this article.

The work done by doctors and nurses is the work of God. They are those angels on Earth that fulfill the wishes that are sent to god. The job of nurses is filled with good wishes and will. While the soldiers are fighting for their people at borders and foreign land, doctors and nurses are doing the same job but by being around people. Now while we all praise the doctors for their extraordinary work, we often fail to acknowledge the work done by nurses. Nurses are there around constantly keeping track of your condition, diet and trying to make sure that people live a better and healthier life. People working in the hospital are the only people that pray that you don’t come back again. The services and sacrifice for our better living is something we should thank for every day. Nurse appreciation day or international nurses’ day is celebrated on 12th May to mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale and the contribution of nurses from all around the world. 

Nurses worldwide work tirelessly and continuously to attain their degrees and certificate while managing their personal life. It’s a lifetime of service. These nurses go through so much physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and with their family as well. They work long hours of shift, sometimes even all-nighters, to be safe and healthy. They don’t get to meet their family members and devote all their time to the service of people. Their work is nothing less than a soldier serving for the country. Just a simple act of kindness towards these nurses can make their living so much better. It makes them proud of the amount of work they do.

Nurses don’t have a proper sleep cycle and food, but still, they are so full of life and energy. They always alert for anything that is coming ahead. They leave all their personal lives aside and are there for their patients. Female nurses who are pregnant provide their service with a big smile on their face while they are going through so many problems themselves. We have had so many nurses who have gone beyond their work to help people and give them a better and healthier life.

We have seen so many nurses and doctors who didn’t give a single thought about their lives and went to countries where there is constant conflict and war just so that they could help all the people suffering there. They didn’t limit themselves to just medications and helped them with so many other basic things such as food, water, and shelter. Nurses working in the veterinary field should also be thanked for looking after our pets that play an important part in our lives. We people from all over the world should be grateful to these nurses who make this world a better place to live for all.  

The History Behind Nurse Appreciation Day (International Nurses’ Day)

The first hospitals were founded in 258 B.C by the Buddhist Indian ruler Ashoka who had asked them to build them along the travelers’ route. It was later during the Crimean War that we saw the works of Florence Nightingale. The international council of nurses (ICN) is a federation that consists of 134 national nurses. This was founded in the year 1899 and was the first international organization for healthcare professionals. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. They have celebrated this day since 1965. During the year 1953, Dorothy Sutherland, an official of the U.S department of health, education, and welfare, proposed that president Dwight. D. Eisenhower proclaims a day dedicated to nurses. But this was not approved by him. Later in the year 1974, that 12th May was chosen as a day to celebrate nurses’ appreciation day and mark the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is the founder of modern nursing. On this day, the ICN prepares and distributes nurses’ kits which contain educational and public information materials. Every ICN has some theme for this day. It started from the year 1988 and went on till the present day. President Nixon, in the year 1974, proclaimed the national nurses week, which begins from 6th May and ends on 12th May. The American nurses association took up this proclamation and promoted it in various ways. On May 6th, 1982, President Ronald Regan signed the proposal, which later the American Nurses Associations expanded this and made a weeklong celebration. 

The Tradition of this Day 

The main tradition of this day is to thank the nurses for their constant selfless work and to let them know they are there for any help or support. The most common tradition that we have been observing is to keep parties for all nurses working in all the shifts. This can raise their morale and make them feel good after the tedious day. While patients and other generous people give those gifts or small tokens of appreciation on the higher management level, nurses are given medals and certifications, symbolizing a sense of recognition. In some places, we also see documentaries and videos made on nurses and those tiring work the entire time and how they manage everything without a frown on their face. The celebration might not be big, but it is fun-filled and filled with goodies that the nurses can relish. 

Importance of Nurse Appreciation Day 

One might ask why it is necessary to thank the nurses while the doctors do all the major work. The answer is to this very simple; a professional well-known doctor will only be able to do his work if the nurses are as good and professional. To be professional and good, they have to study so many subjects and need to be aware and remember to use the right information among the humungous amount of knowledge stored in their brains. Nurses who help doctors in various procedures should know how to handle the situation very well. Nurses are the right hand of doctors. Nurses are available at the most vulnerable moments. While doctors diagnose and prescribe and perform various surgeries, nurses would perform physical exams, administer shots, etc. Nurses play the role of being the backbone of the medical fraternity. None of this would have been possible without their help. Nurses hold the highest ethical standards of 80% to 85%, which means nurses have been repeatedly ranked the most trustworthy people. They have complete knowledge and try to make things better for everybody.

Nurses are always working even if they are not working. If you have a family member who is a nurse, you will know what I’m talking about. Any family member calls them any time of the day or night. They will be there to administer and help you with everything. Even when they are not at the hospital, they still worry about their patients and their well-being. During this week and day, we, as civilians, as patients, as human beings, as family members, thank the nurses all around the world. Their continuous driving force of moving forward to treat everyone regardless of their caste, religion, gender, color, etc., and constantly do their job for the sake of humanity. 

Front Liners of the Pandemic

In the year 2020, we saw an outbreak of a pandemic all over the world. While people were sitting inside their homes and praying for their family’s safety, nurses and doctors were out in the open fighting the outbreak and helping people of all kinds. People washed and soaked their hands in sanitizers for protection from the virus while doctors and nurses in and around the world soaked in sweat worked in hospitals constantly working day and night. They had no food breaks, water breaks, or even have the time to use the bathrooms. They worked every day, every night in this condition, never got to see their family. Their families prayed and hoped that they are safe and they are protected. Nurses and doctors during the pandemic did not have enough equipment; still, they tore their hearts out and helped every patient. They put their lives last and kept every human being’s they met life above theirs. The nurses and doctors working left their personal life and worked till they couldn’t anymore. We saw so many pregnant nurses forget about themselves and their children and work for people without hesitation. No took maternity leave and prioritized their work above all. This courage and dedication kept them alive.

While many nurses and doctors themselves fell sick, still they worked didn’t occupy and bed and fought the battle until their last breath. Nurses lost their friends, co-workers, family members but still came to work and did their job with utmost dignity and responsibility. Nurses were constantly around patients, and they forgot all their pain and connected with the patients, talked to them, helped, gave them hope and courage, and stood with them till the very end. Nurses looked after all the patients like their very own. They didn’t rest until things got better. We saw so many waves come and go throughout the year, and we had so many lockdowns.

While we sat at home, these nurses missed and were so desperate to see their family members. Nobody can even imagine the amount of physical, emotional, and mental pain and trauma that these front-line warriors go through. They didn’t let their fear hold onto them, nor did they allow the patient’s fear to hold onto them. Among all this distress, they found their calm, peace, and happiness. We saw through different media platforms dancing, singing, and playing with patients so that they can forget the pain. We saw so many photos of the struggle that every nurse and doctor is going through. Their fight with this virus is not over yet. The virus has evolved during the months and has got so many variants. Things have changed and evolved around us the past year, but the fight and struggle that nurses go through are never-ending.

While we saw some beautiful connections between patients and nurses, we also things happening to these front liners deserve. Nurses who were living in houses lost their homes due to misinformation and stigma. They were brutally hit and kicked out from society for the godly work they do. Nurses went through so many financial problems, and amid all of this, they still worked. Nurses and doctors weren’t paid their salaries, and in so many places, we saw that nurses didn’t have proper equipment and kits for their safety.

We saw protests by doctors and nurses, but they couldn’t do it for long because they couldn’t leave their job and responsibility. During this pandemic, we had so many cases of women nurses and doctors who were pregnant, losing their lives, and the child’s loss. Still, even after all of this, they didn’t stop. They stand and fight like brave warriors. The family of these nurses and doctors lost someone they love the most but never complained. Rather decided to go in the same field and be proud members like their family. This pandemic has affected doctors and more to nurses; what they have gone through cannot be compared to anything in this world.

The number of pain nurses and doctors have gone through is something that they will always carry. Yes, today, thanks to scientists and technology, the vaccine has been invented in so many countries worldwide. The work of giving the doses to people again falls in the hands of the nurses. These front-line workers were provided with relief of them being vaccinated first. When anybody had to get tested for a report, it always the nurses who came forward and took utmost precaution while taking the samples and reports. Hundreds of people come into the hospital to get themselves tested, and the responsibility of these falls on the nurses. 

Today they are not just taking reports, but they are looking after patients and providing vaccines to people worldwide. We normal human beings might not understand what these nurses are going through, but the least we can do for them is being thankful, grateful, and stand by their side. We all should remember that today if we are alive, the nurses and doctors are fighting an enemy they can’t see. The enemy might be strong, but nurse’s and doctors’ courage and strength are much stronger.  

Magnificent Ideas for Nurse Appreciation Day 

  • Breaks that they deserve. Nurses work tirelessly for hours together and still come back home and continue with their household chores. This monotonous process can tire them out. So let’s put ourselves forward to do their work and help them a little so that they can relax for one day at least. 

  • Thank you party. Every nurse in the world deserves this. A small gathering with family members to thank them for constantly doing their job and not giving under any circumstances. On this day, we can cook their favorite dishes and let them relish at all.  

  • Boosting their morale in their workplace. Nobody likes to go to a hospital and say it is sad and depressing but imagine the same scenario with nurses’ who work in this place non-stop in that environment and try so hard to make it better. It’s time we took a step to do the same for them. One can boost their morale by making them play games or invite a music group of soothing music, which will help doctors, nurses, and patients. 

  • Gifts that they can carry and hold on to. Nurses are away from their homes and family for long hours and might not talk to them due to their lengthy shifts. Giving them small gifts that they can carry and keep with them all the time is recommended. This makes them feel loved and around their family members all the time. 

  • A big family video call. Believe it or not, even a small talk for a few minutes with family and relatives can cheer nurses and make their day so happy. Nurses don’t limit this happiness and spread in and around as well. Next time even if it’s for a few minutes, make that call. You will feel the content as well. 

  • My time. Nurses are around many people every day, and they never complain, but they too deserve their self-time. Give them their time and let them do whatever they love the most, whether reading, watching a movie, writing, or anything that helps them. 

Whether it is nurse appreciation day or not, as responsible citizens, it’s our duty that we help and support nurses and their families whenever we can. We as citizens must understand what nurses go through, especially during a pandemic where they put their lives at stake, but their family’s as well. During such a time, people come together as a whole to make life and this place a better world not just for ourselves but also for the generations that are coming ahead. Respect nurses for what they do and never marginalize or demean their work. It’s a service that they are providing for the country and the people. 

Pope Francis had said, and I quote, “a caress, a smile, is full of meaning for one who is sick. It’s a simple gesture, but encouraging, he or she feels accompanied, feels closer to being healed, feels like a person, not a number”. Every nurse working in every hospital or clinic will know this and embody it in their daily lives. When they, as nurses, can do this for hundreds and thousands of people they meet all their life. When we speak and talk to nurses, we realize that they don’t know how they are doing. Nurses worldwide don’t realize the amount of sacrifice they are making and the amount of strength and courage they possess. They don’t consider themselves as angels of gods, they don’t realize the tremendous amount of work they are doing, amid all this one should ask themselves can’t we do the same for one person? So that they too can feel the same happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and sense of healing which will help them continue the work they are doing.

To conclude, yes, appreciation days are important, whether it’s a day or a week or a month, but what is important is that we stop our appreciation and thankfulness for that one day and forget the rest of the days. We can’t be good for one day and be bad the rest of the time. We have to co-operate, listen, understand when a nurse says or asks us to do something because they are not doing it for their profit; they are doing it for our benefit and well-being. They are there to care and look after us, but it’s our responsibility and look after our well-being and health, and when we do that, we are reducing a huge amount of work that comes upon the nurses. This pandemic has brought about so many uncertainties to all age groups. Still, it has made it even more difficult and challenging for nurses who are the brave warriors fighting this virus. Let’s take a step to make it easier for them in any way possible. It’s time we stood behind the nurses and became their backbone while they are protecting us all. 

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Nurse Appreciation Day – History, Importance, More

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