15th May 2020 – Throughout history, only a selected few have chosen to pursue the act of selflessness. In the eye of the storm, only a few have braved it to persevere so that others need not to. Selfless, courageous, empathetic and committed - These are some of the words that describe nurses. These men and women have been the backbone of our healthcare systems for over 170 years. The nursing profession dates back to the 1850’s, during the time of the Crimean War. It started with a woman by the name of Florence Nightingale. The rest is, of course, history.
The foundations laid by Florence Nightingale have set forth a new generation of healthcare workers that have sworn to show compassion and care regardless of race, creed or social stature. And their dedication is unmeasurable. Marking 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale, 2020 is aptly designated as the “Year of the Nurse” – and this is undoubtedly timely.
This year has shown us something that we have long forgotten. We are once again reminded how these men and women have stood in the line of duty so that others stay safe. The impact of the coronavirus on the healthcare system has been debilitating and in some countries, devastating. Day in and day out, our front liners, our nurses, have been faced with countless challenges. They leave their loved ones at the safety and comfort of their homes to risk their lives for complete strangers. This is the legacy that Florence Nightingale has left behind.
Not a lot of people think of nursing to be glamourous. Less often than not, nurses are exposed to bodily waste, exposed to infectious diseases, sleep pattern disturbances - just to name a few. Adding that to long working hours, graveyard shifts, and staff shortages,
it is not impossible for nurses to feel frustrated. And many a times, helplessness as nurses feel the weight of the tasks heaved upon their shoulders become overwhelming. With their self-esteem pummeled to the ground, some may feel that there was nothing they could do. They feel like they can do nothing more as they are “JUST A NURSE”.
In the world of healthcare, much of the light is shone on brilliant surgeons and physicians and rightly so as they provide the right treatment regime and performed surgery to remove deadly tumors. Doctors had been known to lead and shape treatment for their patients and as well as healthcare in general.
NURSES, on another hand, they do not treat. That’s the doctors’ domain. Nurses HEAL. Nurses are there when patients close their eyes at night to have a restful sleep, and their smile greets patients the first thing in the morning.
They are there when you give birth to your first or second or third bundle of joy, as they too are parents.
They are there to share with your triumph against cancer, as they too went along with you during your struggle.
They are there to help you through the loss of a loved one, as they too might have lost a loved one.
There is always a nurse with you every step of the way as they have seen many in your shoes or have been in your shoes.
To juggle so many roles and responsibilities takes an extraordinary person and this what being a nurse is. It’s a profession that requires a lot of sacrifice and patience. And it takes a special kind of individual to be someone like that.
Nursing has evolved from what it once was. From the fields of war to learning institutions, nurses now possess university degrees and doctorates. Like doctors, they, too, specialize in multiple clinical disciplines, such as neonatology, cardiology and oncology.
Nurses are becoming more and more involved in the care of a patient. With the rise of specialty degrees, the role of nurse practitioners will become more and more to complement general practitioners in treating patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions that require lifestyle changes. This is a role that comes easily to them as they have been long known as patients’ advocators. Patients talk to them more, trust them more than doctors, they are their confidante.
The future holds many possibilities. Numerous areas have begun to emerge in recent years. There have been nurses who work as researchers or professors. These are the new breed of nurses. The future leaders of the profession.
In Brunei, as with the rest of the world, the nursing profession is heading in the direction where care will not only be led by doctors alone but will be led by nurse practitioners. The challenges faced by our nurses is almost similar if not the same. Nurses are still being stigmatized as being just a nurse
However, this has yet to hinder our nurses from performing their tasks, to provide the best care for their patients as holistically as possible. Over the past few months this has been more and more apparent and it has become evident the amount of dedication they have shown and the sacrifice they have made especially during this trying times. Our nurses, our front liners, have shown that nursing is not about the glamour or the spotlight. It’s about being there when your patients need you the most. To help when no one else is there to assist. They become your hands and feet when you cannot move. They become your confidante during the loneliest of times and they will be there to share your joy and blessing.
We are not just a nurse.
WE are NURSES.