Dominated by political turmoil and the COVID-19 Pandemic, this past year has been a roller coaster ride with few brief moments of slow travel interspersed with deep dives of fright and foreboding. The highs that I have enjoyed come in part from the increased attention given to nurses. I have long complained that the nursing profession has been mostly invisible to the public eye, media and policy making sectors. The increase in visibility and status of nurses in these turbulent times looks to me like a glass half-full.
I celebrate all the recent recognition direct towards nurses. When have nurses spoken up in great numbers for their profession, their practice, their patients and for their contribution to the world-wide challenge to defeat of the COVID-19 Pandemic? When have nurses received so much positive media awareness? Been frequently appointed to expert panels along with physicians and other health care professionals? Interviewed prominently by the news media? Featured favorably on TV shows?
How much of a coincidence was it that 2020 was designated by the World Health Organization as the Year of the Nurse and the Nurse Midwife?
In reviewing my posts of the past year, I have pulled out the ones that show increased focus on the nursing profession. I enjoyed revisiting them and am hopeful that the positive attention showered on the nursing profession continues.
Since the beginning of the Pandemic, the visibility of nurses continues to increase. It is unfortunate that it took the Covid-19 virus to open a door allowing the general public to witness what nurses actually do: they save the lives of their patients as they risk their own, jeopardizing the health and lives of their families as well.
For years, I have believed we nurses don’t get the attention we deserve. We don’t speak out about what we do on a daily basis that makes a difference and the news media tends to ignore nurses, placing more attention on physicians.
Well, so much has changed as evidenced recently by the following:
A new show on NBC called the Nurses premiered on Monday, December 7th. I have only watched the first episode so far but if you suspend belief that a group of nurses can enter a hospital and begin to give care immediately, you will see capable, skilled nurses who work alongside physicians, not as the proverbial handmaidens, but as equal professionals. I intend to follow this show.
There have been many firsthand stories in the newspapers written by nurses on the front lines. I have covered some on these in this Blog. Most recently the Washington Post, What seven ICU nurses want you to know about the battle against covid-19, December 12, 2020, spotlighted the ICU nurses caring for the sickest COVID-19 patients. I have received comments from my friends that the stories are poignant.