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Nurses need special support during pandemic crisis

Nursing is hard work. Many people have known this for quite a while. However, nurses being on the front lines of a major event, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, brings their efforts to the forefront in a way not seen in recent years.

So, we’re glad to hear the UP Health System-Marquette has joined the American Nurses Association in celebrating May as National Nurses Month to recognize the positive impact nurses have on the health and well-being of their communities.

National Nurses Week is observed May 6-12 every year, with May 12 being Florence Nightingale’s birthday. However, this year the week — and the month — have special significance in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. In fact, that’s why the celebration went from a week to an entire month.

The World Health Organization also confirmed last May that 2020 would be dedicated to nurses and midwives, providing a “once in a generation opportunity” to showcase them, according to a recent Nursing Times article. WHO chose the theme to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale this May.

Raising awareness of modern-day nursing, as well as highlighting the power and potential of nurses to address big health challenges, were all aims for the year of the nurse, noted Howard Catton, chief executive of the International Council of Nurses, in the story. Catton was quoted as saying this would then help “make the case for better support, better investment and better resourcing of the nursing and midwifery professions.”

As far as we’re concerned, the pandemic provides a “once in a generation” situation that demonstrates the sheer importance of their work.

Nurses’ clinical skills and compassion are crucial components of a hospital’s ability to provide high-quality care to patients. These skills, though, must be complemented by the proper amount of personal protective equipment during the crisis, and we hope nurses everywhere are getting the PPE they need to get through the pandemic.

But it’s not only the equipment they need. Nurses, as with other front-line medical personnel, are faced with a relatively unknown virus with no vaccine as of yet. They have to tend to patients’ needs, both physically and mentally, and this type of care is breaking ground.

So, we hope hospitals are doing the best they can nationwide to give their nursing staffs what they need to perform the jobs. What their communities can do, however, is support them during a very challenging time.

To recognize nurses, area residents are encouraged to leave their own notes of thanks to nurses at www.thankahealthcarehero.com.

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