14 May International Nurses Day – A light on the Struggle
We are in the midst of the first modern pandemic. It has confined us to the safety of our homes, bringing the world to an abrupt standstill. As we wait, completely at the mercy of a highly contagious virus, our healthcare workers have put themselves on the front-lines for a battle that has cost them hundreds of lives.
So for the most part, when the International Nurses Day fell on the 12th of May, it felt like another one of many days where the world came together to celebrate our nurses. We clapped from our windows, sung from our balconies, praised from our keyboards and even donated to help fund the battle they so bravely fought. Yet we constantly find ourselves in debt to a service that has a history worth retelling.
The International Nurses Day is pronounced on the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. It is a tribute to the recognition she placed upon a profession that has come to mean so much to us. Before her, nursing was an informal task practiced by untrained family members who tended to the sick. She transformed it into what it is today with standardized roles and responsibilities of a professional career.
This year’s International Nurses Day was aptly themed after 'Nursing the world to health.’ It is a reminder on the vital role played by nurses to beat the pandemic. One only need to look at these widely shared photographs to understand the depth of their commitment and suffering.
A nurse in the US after 13 hours of ICU work
Nurse in Italy with her bruised face after grueling coronavirus shift
As we pay tribute to nurses and healthcare workers for their unwavering commitment, we should also remember the challenges they face. A struggling front-line, after all, pronounces a nation’s weak policy to fight the pandemic. On the International Nurses Day, this was brought to the attention of world leaders. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights how massive shortages of personal protective equipment, a decline in mental health and inadequate financial support are some of the urgent needs of nurses and urges countries to ensure that these needs are met.
Rtr. Shafeeka Hafeez
(Assistant Secretary – 2019/20)