New Delhi: The outbreak of Covid-19 has affected all sections of society throughout the globe. But there is one group who emerged real heroes in this ongoing war against Covid-19 everywhere: Nurses
Every year, International Nurses Day, which commemorates the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the first “professional nurse” is observed on May 12. The theme for this year is “Nursing the World to Health”.
Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, yet there is an urgent shortage of nurses worldwide with 5.9 million more nurses still needed, especially in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Today is #InternationalNursesDay. Nurses have been at the core of the #Covid19 response providing life-saving care and, in so many heartbreaking cases, they are there in the last moments of a person’s life. To nurses everywhere, thank you for your tireless commitment!,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, shared in a tweet on Wednesday.
While the general public have the luxury to call it a day off due to ‘pandemic fatigue’, nurses often have to go beyond the call of duty with dedication, empathy, compassion, and purpose. Nurses have been a backbone in this fight against Covid. While many people find it hard to wear masks, nurses spend long hours wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and face masks.
“Nurses and other healthcare workers have been working tirelessly through many challenges and adversities such as a surge in patients. They need to be available round the clock, wearing PPE kits and face masks in a high-pressure environment, all with a smile. Capt ( Dr ) Usha Banerjee, Group Director Nursing, Apollo Hospitals Group, told IANS.
“It is not at all comfortable, especially for the female staff. Wearing a PPE suit for just an hour makes us suffocate and it is even worse for those with phobias when they have to go to the MRI. Wearing it throughout a 6 hour shift makes them sweat a lot and they end up feeling dehydrated,” added Sister Latha Nonis, Chief Nursing Officer, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the vital role nurses play and how impossible it is without nurses and other health workers, to put up a fight against outbreaks.A Many have neglected their families and not been on leave since the beginning of the pandemic, last year.
While nurses have proven themselves as true warriors on the frontline, their mental well-being is of utmost importance.
“Most times we have to speak to each nurse before sending them to the Covid ward. At times we have had to speak to the nurses’ families to explain the gravity of the situation. We have to make them understand, give them some time, and then only we can take the nurses,” Nonis said.
“To handle mental health, nurses must get adequate quality sleep; share and vent out their feelings routinely; create ame-time’ everyday by listening to music, painting, etc; stay emotionally connected and most importantly seek help from an expert for mental health,” Akanksha Pandey, Consultant Clinical Psychology, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru, told IANS.