After A Tough Year, We Reflect On The Skills And Dedication Of Nurses
It’s been a tough year for everyone these past months. Through it all, nurses have persevered with skill and dedication. Pegasus home healthcare professionals in Universal City and elsewhere are taking time to show our appreciation for our nurses.
People have cared for the infirm since time began. The work typically fell to family members. It was part of daily life.
By the Middle Ages, untrained women provided midwife care to non-family women. Nuns, who had some training, began caring for the sick. Later, male religious orders, wanting to tend to physical as well as spiritual needs, cared for others.
One of these was the Alexian Brothers, who began their ministry to the sick and hungry in 1259. They are still in existence. In 2012, the Alexian Brothers Health System became part of Ascension Health.
Other orders established hospitals and centers to care for the sick and dying. Women became part of organized systems in 1633 when Saint Vincent de Paul established the Daughters of Charity. The nursing profession has continued to evolve.
Florence Nightingale is generally regarded as the mother of modern nursing. Along with saving numerous lives during wartime, her efforts made it possible for women to choose nursing careers. Formal training began with the first nursing school in 1872 in Boston.
Today, males represent about 10 percent of nurses. Nurses of both sexes fill multiple roles. Nearly 60 percent work away from hospitals, such as providing care in nursing homes or as home healthcare nurses.
Nurses Choose Specialties
Like other professions, nurses may specialize. All nurses meet specific educational and certification requirements. Examples of specialties include:
- Acute care
- Family nurse practitioner
- Infection control/prevention
- Psychiatric/Mental health
A code of ethics governs nurses. In all their work, “the sole responsibility of the nurse is toward the patient.” They are also obligated to care for themselves.
COVID-19 Created Challenges And Brought Changes
Nurses are meeting the challenges of COVID-19. Regardless of how sick or infectious patients are, nurses continue to provide high-quality care. They often cope with a shortage of supplies.
COVID changed many aspects of home health care. Rather than personal in-home visits, nurses were forced to rely on telephone and “telehealth.” Whether in-person or remote, nurses have invested extensive hours doing infection prevention.
They did their best to provide accurate information before anyone understood COVID. Myths and misinformation via social media or the news complicated their efforts.
The pandemic significantly increased the number of loved ones requiring home care. Their needs were added to those individuals who had non-COVID illnesses and disabilities. Home healthcare professionals continued essential services such as:
- Coordinating care with physicians, therapists, and others
- Designing and monitoring treatment plans
- Managing medications
- Preventing infection
- Training family members
- Wound care
They did this, and more, wearing bulky personal protection equipment (PPE). They used generous amounts of hand sanitizers. Despite all the precautions nurses take, they are daily at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Nurses spend more time with patients than other professionals. Quarantine restrictions that keep family members away mean that nurses offer emotional comfort as well as healthcare.
The long hours and struggles involved in COVID care take a toll on many nurses. Physical and emotional exhaustion has become their “new normal.” They are dealing with personal anxiety, depression, and stress each day.
May 6, 2021, was National Nurses Day. It started National Nurses Week. National Skilled Nursing Care Week began on May 9, 2021.
These were special days set aside to recognize all nurses. But you don’t need a specific day or time to express your appreciation. Every day is an opportunity to show how much you value their services.
A heartfelt thank you is an excellent start. Offer it at any interaction in which it seems appropriate. Little tokens of your esteem can be meaningful in certain circumstances.
You may resent needing help, but avoid taking it out on your helpers. Your home health nurses are people with feelings. Express consideration and thoughtfulness when they assist you.
Nurses are proud of the personal healthcare they offer. Pandemic conditions require your nurse to take precautions for safety. Talking to you via remote connections rather than an in-home visit isn’t their choice.
And when they can arrange an in-home visit, wearing PPE creates a barrier between you and them. Even if you’re sure you don’t have COVID, comply with their requests without complaining. Nurses don’t like the requirements any more than you do.
Circumstances were tough on everyone during 2020. Regardless of conditions, nurses stayed on the job, helping whenever and however they could. Take time today to tell them you appreciate their efforts in keeping everyone safe and healthy.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We deeply appreciate the skills and dedication with which our nurses continue to serve you. They and our home healthcare team in Universal City and our other locations tailor their assistance to fit your needs.