• Atieno Orodo

The Year of the Nurse


2020 has been the long awaited year in the nursing community. The campaign, Nursing Now, which has transformed the face of nursing in several countries was to climax this year. The year celebrating the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing. But roughly four months into the year, the world is on its knees, with nurses and other healthcare workers having to make the most daunting sacrifice in their profession yet.

Nursing Now is a three year worldwide campaign, started in 2018, jointly by the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses. The goal is to empower nurses and encourage us to start taking active roles in tackling some of the current healthcare problems. Its programs are centered on Universal Health Coverage and providing nurses with more leadership roles in healthcare. No one had predicted that one of this problems would be a global pandemic that will not only affect physical health but mental and emotional health.

As nurses, this year we were supposed to be celebrating and taking pride in our profession, yet we find ourselves working long shifts and caring for the infected and affected which in turn exposes us and our loved ones to the virus. And whats worse is that there is a global shortage of PPEs. If this is not irony, I don't know what is. However, upon reflection, this might just be the time for us nurses to think deeply about our calling. We all joined the profession for different reasons but eventually it morphs to a calling when we find ourselves having to give more than is asked of us for the sake of humanity. What better way to look back at the foundations of nursing than to immerse ourselves in service during this trying times.

Therefore, as we progress into the year and to May, the nurses week, we should truly reflect on why we are nurses and the roles we play in our different stations. In the meantime, take care of yourself. Eat healthy. Keep fit. Get adequate sleep. Connect with your God. I have a feeling the impact of COVID 19 to public health will be felt for years to come, and as usual, nurses are going to have to bear the greater burden of this problem. But then again, isn't that the goal of Nursing Now, to equip nurses to manage the health problems of the 21st century.

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