In recognition of nurses’ week the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Retired Nurses Association salutes the nurses in St. Vincent and around the world who are continuing on the frontlines of the battle against the corona virus.
When the International Council of Nurses in collaboration with the World Health Organization launched the “Nursing Now” campaign and designated the year 2020 as the year of the nurse and midwife; no one realized how meaningful this would become as the COVID-19 pandemic was not on the horizon. We became aware of it some time in February, 2020 and since then it has swiftly and aggressively taken over the world, becoming the first pandemic in most people’s lifetime, killing thousands and seriously impacting the nurses on the frontlines.
As the novel corona virus ravages the world, many nurses found themselves on the frontlines of this war, being involved in testing of persons, contact tracing, working in Isolation and Intensive Care Units bringing them in direct contact with persons affected with the virus. The risk continues to be great! Many left their homes and families for days or even weeks, communicating with their children and families via Face Time, and other media, and sadly, some never returned to them. Working as a nurse carries with it serious risks that many overlooked as they moved towards the frontlines with passion in their hearts, exercising their calling to fight this invisible enemy.
The risk of spreading this virus is so high that family members are not allowed to visit or be at the bedside of their loved ones, many dying alone. Nurses have used their phones to ensure family members contact their loved ones to say goodbye. They are carried out their duties while holding hands, praying with, singing, and comforting their patients. All this was done while sometimes working without the protective clothing and equipment they needed to be safe
Many nurses and other healthcare workers have lost their lives. Some found themselves in the very heartbreaking position of having to care for sick and dying colleagues. As they worked together, they did not know who will be the next to fall victim to this deadly virus. Despite this, nurses have answered the call to be on the frontlines around the world. A nurse being interviewed was asked by a journalist why she answered that call; the nurse simply said, “Because I am a nurse.”
May 6th – 12th is celebrated around the world as Nurses week with International Nurses Day being the 12th of May. We salute all nurses, especially those continuing on the Covid-19 frontlines for their dedication to the profession, the sacrifices made to the preservation of health and life and we honor them for their suffering and forbearance.
The International Council of Nursing ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano stated that, “Nurses have suffered tremendously throughout the pandemic. They have been unnecessarily exposed to the virus, faced attacks from the public, suffered from extreme workloads, and continue to be underpaid and undervalued.“
As we commemorate this week, we are reminded that we are a profession that assumes responsibility, even in adverse circumstances, for the continuous care of the sick, the injured, the disabled, and the dying and we take this responsibility seriously.
We offer our condolences to all who lost loved ones to the virus, may God continue to comfort you. We also thank the Covid-19 task force for their vigilance in maintaining protocols to protect public health . Through vaccination we have seen the reduction in the numbers of illnesses and deaths. However, we are encouraging all Vincentians to not become complacent because there is an uptick in cases again in many countries.
Continue to be your brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, look out for your neighbors and those in high risk categories; the elderly, the sick, shut-ins, and the disabled. Protect yourselves and others, wear a mask when going out in public, maintain physical distancing, wash your hands with soap and water utilizing friction for 20 seconds as advised, and maintain social contacts with friends and families. Remember to say “ thank you” to a Nurse.
SVG Retired Nurses Association.