Celebrating National Nurse’s Week During a Pandemic: Nursing at It’s Finest
Susie Burke
Medical Director, Camp One Step

Celebrated annually from May 6th – 12th, National Nurses Week recognizes nurses for their many contributions to health care. In addition this year, the World Health Organization declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife to commemorate the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, an early pioneer and founder of modern nursing. Who would have predicted that these celebrations would coincide with a pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus, a virus that has challenged the health care system worldwide and highlighted the important role that nurses play in a patient’s life. Nurses are doing what they do best, putting the patient first and foremost.

Today, nurses remain on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. This virus has altered significantly our conventional way of doing business, a time when health care as we know it has changed. This has required nurses to pivot, adjust and adapt to new ways of doing things. Nurses have demonstrated flexibility in their roles, many being asked to shift their responsibilities to care for those affected by COVID-19. Some nurses have travelled across the country to support hospitals with the greatest need, while others have made the ultimate sacrifice, succumbing to this deadly virus. Nurses remain proud of the excellent care they are providing, constantly challenging themselves to stay abreast of the changing knowledge. They provide intense emotional support to their patients as family members cannot be at the bedside, ensuring that loved ones remain connected in whatever way possible, holding patient’s hands while families say their final good-byes. The emotional toll it has taken on so many is unbearable yet despite that, nurses remain resilient, knowing that their next patient is counting on them to be their caregiver, their companion, their advocate and their hero.

This year, Nurse’s Week looked different for many – instead of the usual celebrations, nurses gathered together with their health care team members, garbed in their gowns, masks and gloves, to celebrate the victories – cheering on their patients who left the hospital after recovering from this devastating virus – reuniting family members who thought this day would never come. They are exhausted yet exhilarated, knowing that the care they provided made a difference.
2020 will definitely make the history books for so many reasons – the Year of the Nurse should be one of those. I have been proud to be a member of the nursing profession for the past 40 years, but today, I stand taller and more united with my colleagues and friends than ever before. Today, we salute not only our Camp One Step nurses but nurses worldwide!