The Irish Nursing profession celebrated International Nurses Day 2020 on the 12th of May.
Despite the busy activity in response to COVID-19, nurses and their colleagues across hospitals and community services took time to recognise and acknowledge the work of all nurses.
Each year, the International Council for Nurse’s (ICN) leads the celebrations. The theme for International Nurses Day 2020 is ‘Nursing the World to Health’.
When this theme was decided no one could possibly have foretold how the world would come to rely on and value the nursing profession as they currently do, raising the profile of the profession exponentially and deservedly.
Such a health crisis has never been experienced before even through the H1N1 Flu pandemic of 2009.
Irish nurses not only stood up to the challenge but embraced it and in many ways reorganised how they delivered care.
Nursing by the bedside prevailed despite the apparent barrier of PPE. Nurses overcame this with various initiatives like wearing a photo of themselves on their gowns to maintain that all important human touch. ‘Smiling with your eyes’ became even more important to convey encouragement and reassurance to frightened patients.
The celebrations of 2020 are more poignant as on 12th May 1820 Florence Nightingale was born. Because of this the World Health Organisation declared 2020 ‘The Year of the Nurse and Midwife’.
To mark the occasion, the Nursing teams in Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) were planning a wide range of activities throughout the year. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, all plans had to be reorganised.
However, the Hospital’s Director of Nursing, Sandra McCarthy was eager to mark the special day.
She said: “I and the Senior Nurse Managers are immensely proud of all the Nurses in MRHP, your care, commitment and compassion for patients and each other is very much appreciated.
“The resilience and adaptability demonstrated by the Nursing teams over the past 3 months has been phenomenal.
“As Florence Nightingale wrote ‘For the sick it is important to have the best’ and in MRHP we certainly have the best. It has been encouraging the outpouring of support from the public for health care workers during this pandemic and a recent artwork by the artist Banksy on the wall of a NHS Hospital, paid tribute to Nurses.
“The piece, entitled ‘Game Changer’ shows a boy dressed in dungarees playing with a Nurse Superhero toy rather than the traditional superheroes. COVID-19 is certainly a game changer for how we deliver health care; I look forward to mapping out new innovative delivery models of nursing care in the future.”
Ms. McCarthy encouraged Nurses to, ‘now more than ever, mind each other, be kind to one another and notice if a colleague requires a helping hand, ear or socially distant hug.”
A ‘Going Home Checklist’ was devised in March and displayed in all staff change areas. The focus on wellbeing, from a physical, emotional, psychological and social wellbeing is a high priority for her. She discussed with Nurse Leaders the importance during this time of huge anxiety and uncertainty, to focus on supporting team resilience and providing an opportunity for staff to reflect over the past number of weeks; what went well & where improvements can be made.