Shining The Light on Nurses

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By Michael O’Neil, Founder & CEO, GetWellNetwork

When the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse, no one could have anticipated just how crucial nurses would become as the country — and the world — faced the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years. Now, a little more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline healthcare workers from all over the world have endured an overwhelming amount of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, with nurses in particular experiencing some of the most significant challenges. Long work hours, the increasing complexity of patient care, stressful environments, and high levels of burnout have contributed to unprecedented pressure on nurses everywhere. 

As the role of frontline nurses drastically evolved over the past year, a recent study published in the Journal Health Policy found more than 30% of nurses reported leaving their jobs due to burnout, citing stressful work environments. Another survey from the American Nurses Association’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation project found that nearly 70% of U.S. nurses reported they agree or strongly agree that they put their patients’ health and safety before their own. 

The Important Role of Nursing in Healthcare

Nurses make up a majority of the healthcare workforce and are instrumental in improving the quality of patient care. They keep hospitals running smoothly and greatly impact the patient experience. Ensuring nurses are engaged within an organization can improve not only nurses’ job satisfaction, but can also help provide an improved care experience and increase patient satisfaction. 

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and other healthcare workers were in the spotlight as we saw an extraordinary amount of respect and recognition pour in from people in cities all around the world coming together daily to show appreciation for healthcare workers by cheering them on from rooftops, balconies, and windows. While this mass recognition demonstrated appreciation and provided a sense of hope, we need to continue celebrating our healthcare workers as we work together during what we hope are the last stages of the pandemic. 

How to Show Appreciation to Nurses

1. Say Thank You, and Mean it.

Sometimes, even the simplest gestures can make a difference. One of the best ways to show appreciation to nurses and other healthcare workers is simply by saying thank you. Listen to your nurses and be kind and encouraging. Grabbing your nurse a coffee, writing a sincere thank you card, or even a simple smile can show your gratitude toward nurses. When we take the time to show your appreciation and support, we let them know that we see the hard work they do everyday. 

2. Nominate Extraordinary Nurses for The DAISY Award® 

The DAISY Foundation strives to recognize nurses by allowing patients and families to express their gratitude to nurses by nominating them for the DAISY Award for the extraordinary skillful, compassionate care they provide. Nurses can be nominated by patients, family members, other nurses, physicians, and any other clinicians and staff — anyone who experiences or observes extraordinary compassionate care being provided by a nurse. 

If you have received extraordinary care from a nurse and would like to recognize her or him, nominating them for the DAISY Award is an excellent way to show your gratitude.

3. Follow Safety Protocols and Guidelines 

Every day, nurses and healthcare providers face challenging and stressful situations while being tasked with saving the lives of their patients. As patients, we can help ease this stressful environment by adhering to the requests and health recommendations of the nurses. Following the standard safety protocols and guidelines helps ensure a safe environment for patients and healthcare providers alike. Following instructions in a timely manner demonstrates sincere understanding and recognition for all their hard work. 

Honoring the Light of Nurses 

Nurses spend their lives taking care of others, and it is time we return the favor.  Whether it is a simple thank you or a DAISY Award nomination, there are many different ways to show appreciation to nurses. Nurses deserve the appreciation and recognition for the unconditional support they provide to patients and families every day. Let’s all do our part and brighten a nurse’s day today!

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