11 May 2020
The role of the nurse in society has never felt as prominent or important as it does in the midst of COVID-19. Nurses, after all, man the frontline of the brutal war the world is waging against coronavirus. They are the ones who offer soothing words top the inflicted and who constantly risk their lives just doing the job they were trained to do.
A love letter to nurses seems both timely and overdue.
As a patient in a rehabilitation centre I have both seen the treatment of and been treated by nurses. I have witnessed people warmed and comforted by the gentle tending of nurses and their friendly, soothing presence.
I have, personally, been wrenched back from the edge of self-destruction by the guidance, advice and warning of nurses. It is nurses who urge you back to the place you were at before you became ill by reminding you to self-care, to look after your personal environment and to take your medication. It is nurses who you take your questions to and it is nurses who answer your questions with insight and patience.
When my darkness arose once more and threatened to consume me as it had previously it was a nurse who sat with me throughout my day. That nurse did quiet, kind, gentle things for me like bringing me hot, sweet cups of tea and reminding me I was loved.
Nurses have always been important to me both in the context of my own world and the wider world. Of course, nurses have been vital in my own recovery and in my remaining recovered, but it is a constant comfort to know that nurses are there to mend my son’s torn knee or to offer pain relief to my injured mother. Nurses are the face of hospitals and wards. It is nurses who guide you through your treatment and release you from that treatment. It is nurses who can make you feel slightly better just by smiling at you or offering you their hand.
Covid-19 has shone a light on how overlooked and underappreciated nurses are. Each Thursday evening the world is filled with applause for hospital workers. It makes me smile because I have been applauding nurses my entire life.