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Dear Florence

It’s the second Nursing Week with our planet battling a viral enemy COVID-19, here in Ontario we’re in a lock down purgatory. It seems unending, it’s been hitting us hard in the acute care sector, as hospitals scale back elective surgeries and increase ICU capacities.

The talking heads (content experts) are suggesting the peak has been reached, a battered health care workforce has the hope “may our prayers be answered….” As you know we pause usually to profile the nursing profession, this year the Canadian Nurses Association theme is #WeAnsweredTheCall.

Indeed we have answered the call by reporting for shifts, spending hours in personal protection equipment, and develop strategies on how to enter our homes without placing our families at risk. We hear nurses are on the brink, of breaking, burned out, and suffer post-traumatic stress disorders.

The actual reality is more complex, no condition is absolute; nurses are a diverse group. Some are vulnerable to trauma as seen in Code Blue events, multiple deaths, suffering and despair. Some nurses manage their stress loads by practicing self care expertly, maintain their boundaries so relationships are therapeutic with patients, be empathetic not their best friends. Your notes on nursing address so many sound concepts, be mindful of one’s impact upon the sick, use care and quiet to minimize pain and discomfort to a patient. Be not loud, boisterous, disturb the surroundings by crashing equipment, keep alarms to a minimum.

The constant bombardment of noise impedes healing, the unending pokes, touches, talking over the bed leaves fatigue in its wake. It’s ironic, many nurses tap into a more quiet process when death is near, including the environment, the practitioners become mindful of sound, touch, comfort, and at these times one cares for a patient not be there virtually.

The human touch that says “I’m here with you…” the calm voice that encourages a soul to ease away, perhaps with music that means so much to a dying person, or the sound of a family’s tears that express love not ready to separate. The need to be mindful, multiple times, multiple vignettes of practice, the need to release emotion whether grief, anger, fear, frustration–indeed fill yourself with gratitude, unconditional love, authenticity, and forgiveness.

My friends who share their experiences; I honour your contributions and wish you a most well deserved thank you. Nursing Week is not a week to “get something” but a week to celebrate the difference we make by being a nurse. Our role to observe, monitor, intervene, communicate, educate, contribute knowledge, advocate, and to provide excellence in care, from the first breath to the last breath. Namaste.

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said the finest of Fine Arts.”

Florence Nightingale

Categories: Uncategorized

Paula M

Registered Nurse Storyteller, Healer, Scribe, Transformational Leader

3 replies

  1. Excellent article as always Paula! Glad we have nurses like you to defend and raise the profession up 💕

  2. Paula, I remember you speaking about this ‘translucent’ relationship. Thanks for your time. Would you have any pictures from the day? Also curious to know about Florence.

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