Being a nurse comes with various responsibilities. Nurses don’t just administer patient care; they also help the patient’s family cope with an illness and carry out countless health-related administrative tasks. Along with other health care practitioners, nurses have always played a pivotal role in the healthcare system, and the recent global pandemic took their responsibilities to a whole new level. Since nurses are the largest qualified group of healthcare workers around the globe, they are the ones who shoulder a large percentage of the crisis.
Here are some interesting details that highlight the important role nurses play in our world today
They Care for Every Patient
Nurses play a crucial role in every healthcare facility, from large hospitals to smaller nursing homes. You can find them using their expertise in triage at the emergency entrance, in an operating room, or at the ICU. Relying on their knowledge and experience, nurses can quickly assess every patient’s symptoms, which not only facilitates the physician’s work but can prevent infections from spreading. But the most remarkable quality of nurses is their ability to care for every patient. For them, there is no age, gender, or race. As far as nurses are concerned, every ill person deserves equal treatment.
They Face Many Risks
While they are taking care of patients, nurses can be exposed to pathogens even if they take all precautions and follow all safety procedures. Assuming they have all the necessary protective equipment, they still have to handle with extreme caution everything that comes in contact with an infected patient.
However, an infection isn’t the only thing nurses have to face during their work in today’s world. Their extremely long shifts and higher stress levels caused by the pandemic can result in burnout for many nurses. Well-rested nurses are more efficient caregivers, so they need to have breaks whenever they can and consume enough food and water during their shifts.
They Are Trained to Spread Awareness
As essential healthcare workers, nurses have to teach others about symptom awareness, hygiene, and prevention. Yes, you can find information about all this online. But if you want to learn the proper handwashing technique and the importance of social distancing, a nurse is the best person to ask. Why? Because nurses have extensive knowledge about this subject and have been trained to educate others, especially in times of disaster such as the ongoing global pandemic, where according to Labouré College in Massachusetts, the training process of nurses has been modified to ensure everyone’s safety. Besides gaining skills for patient care and public education, nurses in training are also encouraged to develop their critical thinking abilities so they can effectively manage crises.
They Manage Medical Supplies
Nurses are responsible for staffing hospital wards, clinics, and units with various medical supplies, from masks to oxygen tanks. Most of these items seem to be in short supply due to the pandemic, so nurses have to learn how to manage their equipment in the most rational way possible. Every piece of equipment needs to be accounted for, and everyone who asks for something needs to have more than one good reason to get it. But despite experiencing shortages in much‐needed supplies, including personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns, nurses are taking care of everyone in need. Which, unfortunately, often results in them getting infected as well.
They Work Extremely Long Hours
Because of the pandemic, nurses often work even longer shifts than usual to deal with the increasing number of patients. And when other healthcare workers get infected themselves, the rest of the staff is expected to pick up their workload and put in even more hours. To fill the gap in the existing workforce, some hospitals employ nurses in training and already retired nurses at the frontline as well. Sadly, the long and stressful working hours of nurses weakens their immunity. This makes them more vulnerable to infections and can have dire consequences, especially for the older generation, because they are at greater risk of fatal outcomes. Despite knowing all these facts, many retired nurses still volunteer to put in as many hours as possible.
Nurses work countless hours day after day, putting aside their own lives, frustrations, and all the risks associated with their jobs, especially in these times. They have to use all their knowledge and expand it to be able to help everyone in need. If there were ever true heroes in this world, they would be the nurses. Those unsung heroes of the healthcare sector deserve the utmost respect for their tireless efforts in this exceptional health crisis we are experiencing today.