[This article was written by Christopher Jordan, MHA, RN, CPHQ, Chief Nursing Officer –Acute Care, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
Last year, when the American Nurses Association announced that 2020 was going to be the Year of the Nurse, they could not have known how right they would be.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the face of healthcare and the healthcare delivery system as we knew it. While we, as nurses, entered the field out of a deep desire to help those less fortunate, to serve the health of our communities, we never in our wildest dreams pictured this.
As nurses, COVID-19 has challenged our resilience and resolve. It has challenged our humanity. Simple gestures such as handshakes have been replaced by courtesy waves. A hug from our children when we return home from work is delayed while we take a quick shower and change our clothes. In the face of a virus shrouded in uncertainty and misinformation, we have all been subjected to heighted anxiety and stresses.
Through all of this, I have seen nurses throughout St. Peter’s come together like never before. While there is still concern, I also see joy in the faces of our nurses. While the unknown still exists, we approach it with an attitude of “I got this.”
During our fight against COVID-19, our nurses have truly stepped up and are making countless sacrifices daily to ensure the safety of patients and each other, and to help protect our community. As caregivers and health care educators, nurses play a critical role in patient outcomes, both in the hospital and in the community.
This pandemic has seen our nurses working outside their normal comfort zones, encountering situations that have forced them into roles that challenged them to learn new skills. And they have risen admirably to the challenge, providing critical care needed during these trying times.
From a patient’s perspective, a great nurse is security, comfort and a cherished partner on the journey through the health care system. They have been there for our patients when the families could not — holding hands and comforting them when they were scared and alone.
Regardless of the location, in every interaction, nurses provide personal, individualized care, delivered with thought, warmth and concern. The very best nurses heal with their skills and their hearts. They provide compassion and caring not only for their patients, but for the families of patients, and their fellow caregivers.
Last week marked the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. There is little doubt she would be well-pleased with the progress nursing has made in the past 200 years, while acknowledging this moment in history will likely inspire the next generation of nurses to even greater heights. To nurses everywhere, you have our gratitude!