May 11-17 is National Nursing Week in Canada, and it is always centered around the birthday of Florence Nightingale (200 years ago today!!) who is widely considered the founder of modern nursing. I’m not sure when the International Council of Nurses chooses their theme but it sure is fitting that for 2020 it is “Nursing the World to Health”.
Nurses are the heart and soul of most health and medical teams, they play a crucial role in the management and leadership of their teams through knowledge, health promotion and treatment of diseases and illnesses. I include all types of nurses when I think of Nurses week, Nurse Practitioners, Registered nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Resident Assistant and Patient Care Attendants, they all provide care in a variety of ways to a wide range of patients, residents and clients.
Providing nursing care took an abrupt turn in NB this winter when the threat of Covid 19 entered our province. While we, non-nurses, took shelter in our homes surrounded by our family whom we were able to keep safe, nurses did the opposite (as did other essential workers-all deserving of weeks named after them too!). I spoke to many nurses, here in NB, throughout Canada, in the US, and all over the world, and they all sang the same tune, they turned towards the danger, some even coming out of leave, retirement and alternate careers (me included-well I tried to no avail!!). One nurse telling me, although she feared bringing home the virus to her family, she was confident they would be OK with it, she held more fear about bringing the virus into her nursing home, her place of work, and potentially starting a wave of illness and deaths to her residents. Imagine waking up before every shift feeling like that. Overthinking each tickle in the throat, warm spell (Hello?? Hot flashes??!) or aches and pains thinking this is it, I’ve got it and I’ve spread it.
We speak openly and honestly about mental health at Tango Medical, an aspect of health that we sometimes hold more highly than our bread and butter of our retail products which is rehab and mobility. We are beginning to see what the effects of lockdown, quarantine and fear of this virus is doing to our souls, our hearts, our brains, our mental health in our essential workers. We need to look after them, as they were so quick to look after us, our families, our loved ones, our New Brunswick. We need to start thinking of ways in order to support them throughout, and in the future, providing them with the love and support to get through this type of trauma. Luckily, in NB, we’ve had no deaths from the virus, so unlike other provinces and countries, we are not facing losing healthcare workers to this virus. But this sort of stress, anxiety and pressure can result in increased incidents of depression, anxiety, PTSD or physical symptoms (pain, inflammation, sickness). I’ve heard of some nursing homes providing therapies and counselling throughout this. This is the type of staff management we need to see!
“For the sick it is important to have the best” -Florence Nightingale (the Lady with the Lamp)
Now we gotta give our best to the best who have taken care of our sick.
By: Heather Rogers
Heather is a Clinical Care Advisor and Equipment Specialist at Tango Medical. Given her background in nursing, she provides a unique perspective to the sale of medical equipment and supports many of our clients who are residents in, or managers of, long term care facilities.