12 May is Nurses’ Day. Picture: Pexels / Karolina Grabowska
12 May is Nurses’ Day. Picture: Pexels / Karolina Grabowska

International Nurses Day: Why these unsung heroes deserve to be celebrated

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published May 12, 2021

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While Covid-19 may have brought attention to the essential medical care that nurses provide patients around the globe, it is a special type of nurse that is able to help people without ever being in the same room as a patient.

Sister Amy Howes and her team of experienced nurses are dedicated to helping caregivers and parents. The only difference is that they do it over the telephone.

They offer appropriate and early medical intervention through advice on the dedicated 24/7 helpline service, BabyLine, so that parents feel more empowered to make better decisions to look after their children at any time of day or night.

“We do this by using pre-qualified checklists when we get a call from a distressed parent. We ask them a few questions to determine what is wrong with the child and then either recommend home-based care, or in severe cases, to rush to the emergency room,” Howes says.

Sister Amy Howes. Picture: Supplied

She also says that sometimes parents need support on how to cope with the stressful situation of having a new and tiny human being to care for.

Today is International Nurses’ Day, a day that spotlights the nursing profession.

Howes has been a nurse for over 10 years. She studied nursing at Netcare Training Academy and Midwifery at the University of Stellenbosch. Adding that she worked in all departments at different hospitals and clinics, but paediatrics and midwifery remain her favourite.

When asked if she always wanted to be a nurse, Howes said yes.

“I’ve always had a love for helping people. I am a very compassionate person, so nursing was a natural career choice. I always wanted to do something challenging, interesting and make a difference in a person’s life. I am vastly happy with the path I followed. I believe I have the best job in the world.”

Nurses have suffered immensely during this pandemic, in terms of their mental and physical health, as they work together to care for us all. Their jobs are integral to our survival and it’s clear that we owe them all our thanks and support.

Fedhealth Medical Aid gives us more reasons why nurses deserve our thanks this International Nurses’ Day and beyond:

1. They “hold hope” and communicate

Often a patient’s doctor has little time to spend with the individual, and the nurse then steps in as the provider of information and communicator with the person’s loved ones.

Their role is crucial in terms of providing emotional support as well as physical, as we all know how our mental and physical health are linked. This presence at a person’s bedside is invaluable, especially when visits from family members are restricted due to the pandemic.

2. Innovation

When situations like this happen in the world, human beings can show a remarkable ability to adapt and innovate, and this is especially true in a health-care scenario. Nurses are at the forefront of this innovation, whether it’s redesigning the “model of care”, or changing the way they communicate with their fellow health-care workers.

3. Education

It’s not just about caring for the ill in hospital, nurses also play a significant role when it comes to educating people on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Whether it’s visiting schools and communities, training other health-care patients with what they’ve learned or sharing their knowledge online, nurses play a key role in advancing our awareness of the virus.

4. They’re putting their own lives at risk

There aren’t many jobs that are more selfless than a nurse. The International Council of Nurses announced in October last year that 1 500 nurses across 44 countries had passed away from the virus, estimating that the real global figure is probably closer to 20 000.

Would you go into work each day, knowing that despite all the protective equipment and gear, you could contract Covid-19 yourself? Nurses do, and for this we owe them everything.

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