Value yourself and your colleagues every day of the year.
Year of the Nurse is well under way, but the COVID-19 crisis has swiftly created an even greater recognition of nurses and other healthcare providers as “heroes”—make that “everyday heroes.” The news reports of the outpouring of gratitude for what caregivers are doing and sacrificing on the to fight this pandemic made me stop and realize that International Nurses Day, National Nurses Month, and the World Health Organization’s “2020—The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” aren’t the only ways to recognize nurses. Perhaps COVID-19 has given us a wake-up call for another kind of appreciation.
In previous editorials, I’ve written about issues our profession constantly tackles, such as speaking out against bullying, recognizing each other as professionals, treating each other with respect, and functioning as a team. Add avoiding negative circumstances and colleagues and creating healthier work environments to the list. Across all of these issues, a “bell curve” spans the range of what I call “mutual appreciation.” On the right side of the curve, you find high levels of mutual respect and collegiality; on the left are colleagues who behave as if they’re isolated and not part of a larger nursing community. I propose we eliminate the bell curve.
I’d like us to develop an “everyday appreciation” campaign that includes each and every one of us. It starts right here with the American Nurse Journal. We are nurses. We are at the center of healthcare delivery. We are the professionals who “nurse” our communities back to health. We perform a vital role, and we shouldn’t need a pandemic to recognize that fact. Yes, we’re teammates with other professionals, such as physicians and other care delivery staff, but nurses are the fulcrum around which most other care is delivered and coordinated.
Nursing is a profession still in flux, but this is a time when we need to become clearer about our path, our role, and our value. Nurses are the hub of the care wheel in most settings, and we’re the foundation of caregiving. So let’s celebrate and recognize each other every day—not just on a day, a week, a month, or a year—to strengthen the cohesiveness of our professional identity and the overall fabric of the nursing community.
What can you do to develop an “everyday appreciation” for our importance and value? How can we appreciate each other no matter who we are, what role we play, and what disease we’re helping to fight? Let’s find ways to take the Year of the Nurse and extend that global recognition into an “everyday appreciation” in your unit, your department, your clinic, or wherever you work. Let’s start today!
Lillee Gelinas, MSN, RN, CPPS, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief