A nurse is there when you are born and a nurse is usually there to comfort you and your loved ones in your last hours. Sunday, May 12 is International Nurses Day, a day celebrated every year across the world on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
Every day, nurses in clinics across the country look after the health needs of their communities. In hospitals and care centres it’s the nurses that are at the patient’s bedside for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They work weekends and often don’t get to spend special days like Christmas and New Year with their families.
The nearly 300 000 nurses in South Africa represent well over half of the total health care workforce – they are the backbone of our health services. In many health care facilities in South Africa, nurses go about their work as best they can under difficult conditions – with short staffing and a shortage of supplies and equipment.
Nurses work long hours and, unlike other most employees, they can’t always just put their work down when it’s time for a break or at the end of their working day. And, once they’re at home, how often aren’t they called upon to help out when friends and relatives become ill.
On International Nurses Day many nurses will join special church services and renew the Nurses’ Pledge of Service they took when they first qualified. Others will be working to look after your loved ones.
How about showing nurses on their special day how much you appreciate them? You can lift a nurse’s mood by writing a note explaining how much they meant to you. You can drop off a cake or a box of chocolates for the nurses at the hospital. Or, if your nurse friend is working on the day, you can spoil her by inviting her to dinner or dropping off a cooked meal. Across the world, there are also many businesses that offer nurses a free cup of coffee or special discounts during Nurses Week which runs from May 6-12.
Image attribution: Minette Lontsie [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]