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It’s National Nurses Week!

It’s National Nurses Week!

By Amy Jennings
May 09, 2022

This week is National Nurses Week! Nurses have always played an important role in our community, and over the last two years, their contributions have only increased. Their willingness to care for others has been instrumental in helping our community get through the pandemic and we want to recognize all the work they do to keep our community safe and healthy. We also want to call to attention some of the struggles nurses have faced as a result of COVID-19.

Since the beginning, nurses have been at the frontline of the pandemic. Not only have they put in long hours to care for others, but they have often done it while experiencing high levels of stress, fatigue, and burnout on a day-to-day basis. During National Nurses Week, we want to thank our nurses and talk about a few ways we can support them during this time. Without nurses, many people in our community wouldn’t receive the care they needed!

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected nurses?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nurses in a couple of different ways. One way is the sheer amount of hours nurses have put in to caring for those in the COVID-19 ICU. Many nurses have reported feeling burnt-out and exhausted from long shifts and little to no time off. In fact, 75% of nurses reported feeling exhausted in December 2020 and around 30% of nurses have either retired or left the profession in the last two years.

Another way the pandemic has affected nurses is through the concern of contracting or spreading COVID-19. While many of us had the opportunity to stay home and avoid places where we might be at risk, nurses were (and still are) helping patients who can potentially spread COVID-19 to them. Many nurses felt they couldn't interact or spend time with their family for fear of potentially spreading the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, around 3,607 U.S. healthcare workers have died from COVID-19, with 32% of those cases being nurses.

While many nurses were faced with long shifts and concerns about catching or spreading COVID-19, they also faced the difficult task of experiencing loss on a day-to-day basis. Many nurses during the pandemic cared for patients who passed away from COVID-19 and witnessed friends and family members struggle with the loss of someone they loved and cared about. The emotional toll of dealing with patients who passed away affected many nurses and made it harder for them to keep a positive outlook.

Providence Sacred Heart NICU RNs

Providence Sacred Heart NICU RNs

How can we help?

Nurses have done so much to care for our others during the pandemic, and the best way we can help support them is to stay well and stay out of the hospital with COVID-19. Wearing a mask when you're at a crowded event can help reduce your risk if you're not sure about other’s vaccination status. In addition, washing your hands and getting vaccinated can protect you and those around you. The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective at reducing your risk of severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.

Don't forget to test, too! Testing for COVID-19 before you head out to a concert, event, or other gathering can ensure you don't spread the virus to those most vulnerable, like grandma or grandpa. In addition to wearing masks and testing, we can also support our nurses by practicing kindness.

Unfortunately, nurses have continued to report verbal abuse from patients and family members. We know the last two years have been stressful and can leave us all feeling a little uneasy, but nurses are here to help you in the best way they can, so please, be kind. Even a simple "thank you" the next time you see a nurse or receive care from one can go a long way in helping them feel recognized.

During National Nurses Week, we can all do things to support the nurses in our community and let them know how much we appreciate them! For more information on statistics we've included in this blog, please visit:

Lost on the frontline: US healthcare workers who died fighting Covid-19 | US news | The Guardian

Addressing the Rise in COVID-Related Violence Against Nurses | NurseJournal.org

Mental Health & Wellness Survey 2 American Nurses Foundation | NursingWorld.org

SRHD Nurse-Family Partnership RN, Kimberly Parkey

SRHD Nurse-Family Partnership RN, Kimberly Parkey