Prof (Dr) Karuna Hazarika
(The writer is Principal, Tezpur Medical College.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, every year. The International Council of Nurses has been celebrating this day since 1965. To show respect to the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale in 1974, May 12 is chosen as a special day, International Nurses Day. She was known as 'The Lady with a Lamp' and fought for the foundation and for the law to protect the nursing profession as well. She used to go out with a lamp holding in her hand to search for wounded and injured soldiers to help them in Crimean War in 1850. This credited her to reduce the mortality rate from 40 per cent to 2 per cent.
Nursing is a noble profession without them it is just impossible to give adequate care to the patient. This is selfless as well. International Nurses Day is celebrated globally to appreciate and acknowledge the contribution, commitments, and role played by the nurses towards mankind. This celebration starts as starting of National Nurses Week on the 6th of May and is known as National Nurses Day which is also celebrated in India along with other countries. A nurse is trained in basic and general nursing education programmes and is licensed by the appropriate authority to practice as per the law. A nurse's priority is always a patient. Their primary responsibility is to give care and support to the needy, especially in illness. The National Nurses Week was first observed in the US in October 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Nightingale's pioneering work and finally, formal recognization came to effect in 1974 when President Richard Nixon declared National Nurse Week and will be celebrated every May. The concept of modern nursing came to light following the establishment of a professional nursing school at St Thomas Hospital in London. It was the first nursing school in the world and is now a part of King's College London.
Surprisingly, it was the first secular nursing school too. Nightingale Pledge is taken by the new nurses, and Florence Nightingale Medal is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve.
Every year there is a different theme to celebrate Nurses' Day. The theme for 2022 is, 'Resource is Nurses: A Voice to Lead-invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health, Make a Difference'. The role of nurses is tremendous in the healthcare system. Nurses played a great role during the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide. It is difficult to tackle the situation without the support of the nurses as they are helping the doctors during treatment and helping the family members of the patient by providing the daily information, as well. Nurses played a vital link between the healthcare worker and patient, in the successful management of Covid-19 cases. They have inoculated and made the vaccination programme a successful one. Apart from normal duty during the Covid-19 pandemic, the nurses have gone further to support the patient's mental health condition creating a lively and happy environment, especially to cheer up and lift the mood of patients to raise the morale to fight against the Covid-19. Nurses emerged as strong warriors during the Covid-19, risking their lives to keep others safe. But most of the time their hardship goes unnoticed even though they are working overtime with disturbed mental and physical health and sometimes without even timely salaries, as well. Considering the need and contribution made by the nurses it become a strong topic of discussion and taken care to invest in nursing education, and jobs and to develop leadership to achieve universal healthcare almost in every nation. Now the role of nurses is considered as resource management as they have managed the various resources like gloves, medicine, beds, space etc., to PPE kits during the pandemic. Everything was scarce and the nurses took a vital role in managing it, smoothly. They could manage it with proper education to the health workers and other resource persons by minimizing the need for PPE kits etc.
Simultaneously, the role of educating public education has become vital for the nurses today following the Covid-19. They now could more effectively educate people about treatment compliance, and preventive health like vaccination, self-care etc. They now can build up trust and educate people in a better way. They can guide the people on available healthcare and counter various myths related to the disease and beliefs. Now nurses also have to play a vital role in the management of population-based medicine which needs to be developed globally. Now healthcare system is targeted community wise and the preventive nature of the healthcare system needs to be spread globally with the help of trained and well-equipped nurses to achieve a preventive concept of healthcare. There is increased demand for nurses following the pandemic in every part of the world and the government also taking care of the same.
There is a need for more nurses to train the future generation for the noble profession as trainers to combat the scarcity of nurses.
Nurses are always playing a frontline role in the management of healthcare and that was observed during the pandemic too. There is a shortage of nursing staff in different sectors and needs to address properly as they are considered the backbone of the healthcare system worldwide, today. Care has to be taken to address the psychological distress of nurses, in priority wise. Hospital administrators and nurse supervisors have a significant role in making a comfortable working environment for nurses by providing adequate policies, resources, training opportunities, comfortable shift modes, welfare, appropriate incentives, and appreciation too. Support including the management, coworkers, peers, family, friends and neighbours has to be ensured for better and effective healthcare along with proper support from the government for educating the people and proper guidelines. Good support and monitoring of these will help to provide healthcare more effective way in future.