Nursing - My Calling, My Passion, My Profession
I am a nurse. I have been a nurse for as long as I remember. Nursing has been my calling, my passion and now my profession. In these difficult times of global pandemic, I have been detailed to help out in the most needed areas, which is taking care of COVID patients in the ICU. Although I don’t currently work in an ICU, with my long-standing critical care experience, I feel comfortable in taking care of the critically ill patients.
This is my job and my professional responsibility as a nurse, and I am more than happy to do my part. Initially, I had mixed reactions including anger and frustration to my deployment, I now am able to see the bigger picture, and have a whole different perspective about the situation. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of this global pandemic response efforts in my own little way, and am grateful for the experience of a lifetime, knowing that my efforts are making a difference.
Nurses Being Taken For Granted
I do however, have an issue with how nurses are being treated. While being beyond happy that now, nursing as a profession is globally recognized and elevated to a level like never before, the fact that the nurses at grassroots are taken for-granted is concerning. We are required to work with minimal supplies. When I say this, I am not referring to the specific institution that I work for, because thankfully we have a steady supply of necessary inventory. I am talking about the global and national situation affecting the entire frontline workers. I am talking about the plight of all the nursing friends and acquaintances far and near, who are forced to work with minimal supplies. The infection control guidelines are being constantly changed and lowered to accommodate the scarce supply of available PPEs. The hospital policies are changed to what we know do not align with the best practice guidelines that we have been following before the pandemic. This is very demoralizing for a profession which has historically been known to stand up for the ‘right thing to do’ principle. Besides, nurses are being given nominal monetary incentives just for the sake of it, which I consider very degrading and undermining to the amount of risk and stress that we are going through. Some institutions, are giving a one-time incentive, which is equal to or less than what a nurse would typically earn in one week. We would have been just fine without this namesake monetary incentive.
Discounts and Freebies
Many companies are offering discounts and freebies for the frontline workers, which is very much appreciated by the entire nursing clan. We all are aware of our love for free stuff. These freebies also include the much-needed meals during the difficult times, and collectively we are thankful for every bite of it, because we are tired, stressed and have no strength left to cook. We are thankful for the generosity and outpouring of love and encouragement from the community that we serve for. We are grateful for the acknowledgement of the risky work and appreciation parades by the police and firefighters, and are thankful for the generous donations from the community, and please know that every bit goes a long way. All this cheer does make this misery a little bit bearable for the moment at least, but in no way does this make the reality of the situation go away. Day in and day out we walk into our work areas speculating what lies ahead of us, how are we going to get through this day, and this feeling does not end today nor will it end tomorrow or soon enough.
Heroes or Just a Nurse
My rant is also about being labelled “a hero” for doing my job. I am not “a hero”, or “a warrior.” I am “just a nurse” (pun intended) doing my job. Is it affecting my life- yes!! Both professionally and personally. My life is turned upside down. My family is put at risk because I am in the thick of the sickest of the sick. My schedule has changed drastically. And it is not just me. Nurses all over are dealing with situations like this. I know a lot of fellow colleagues who are staying away from home, sleeping in a camper or staying at a hotel (thanks to AACN for their partnership with Hilton group to provide free room to their members), to avoid exposing their elderly grand-parents, parents, immune-compromised family members or children and the trauma they are going through on a daily basis. The professional standards that nursing has operated on forever, are being challenged. Compassion and caring have a whole different meaning. Calling us “a hero”is for doing my job? I am not a hero. Give me the love, support, compensation and recognition that I deserve.
Nurses Uniting to Face COVID and Supporting Each Other
We as nurses have come together to face this, and stand as a team helping, supporting each other emotionally and professionally. But for the better good, I hope that we learn from this as a community and globally, so that never again will human race find itself in a situation like this.