Professional nursing as we know it began with Florence Nightingale, who more than 100 years ago pioneered modern nursing. Ms. Nightingale was an incredible visionary who saw beyond the social norms of her time. In 2022, to honour Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12, we designate May 9-15 as “National Nursing Week.”
I know first-hand what it takes to commit to the important calling of the nurse. Before becoming a physician, and eventually Chief Medical Officer at Revera, I was a nurse. As I reflect on my life, I know that my years in nursing have made me a much better doctor. I know how important the role of a nurse is to every medical setting—whether in a hospital, a retirement residence or a long term care home. Nurses always answer the call; they are on the front lines with patients and residents every single day. There is an often quoted saying that a nurse is “a person who is strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand everyone.” This really sums it up for me. Nurses do the hard work of providing care every day, while creating unique and special bonds with not only the patient, but importantly with the families and loved ones who are advocating for that patient.
“Strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand everyone.”
With a mission to raise the profile and discussion around corporate and professional respect, Maru Public Opinion recently assessed the public’s level of respect for 28 occupations. And no surprise, nursing was at the top of list, ranking number two, behind firefighters.
As a physician, I couldn’t begin to do my job effectively without the expertise and partnership of nurses and nurse practitioners. From administering medication, to changing IV bags, to being there and listening, and advocating for the patient, nurses are there every step of the way in a patient’s care. Nurses are the eyes, ears, and the voice of our homes. They are caregivers, observers, critical thinkers, and decision-makers, frequently called upon to translate complex medical details and observations into simple terms.
Nurses and nurse practitioners are the real heroes of healthcare and this week and every day, I salute them.