Nurses and midwives have some of the most challenging jobs on the best of days. Not only are they responsible for the things we all see- administering medications, caring for patients, bringing new life into the world, and navigating piles of paperwork, but they also carry an unseen burden.
The burden of telling patients and their families news that will destroy their lives; of holding the hands of the dying, stillbirths, complications, and heartbreak. Those things are a normal part of any healthcare professional’s life, but these are not normal times.
Nurses and midwives have been working through a global pandemic that has ravaged our healthcare system and made their jobs ten-fold more difficult. I want to use this opportunity to let our nurses and midwives know that we see them and are thankful beyond words for what they’re doing.
Nurses and midwives, we see that you have given up so much of your own safety to care for patients carrying a highly contagious virus. We know that you have walked into hospitals, clinics, and homes while your own families were isolated.
We see that you take risks every time you brush a patient’s hair from their face and lean in close to hear their words. We see that you are working with less: less people, less supplies, less support. We see that you are fighting to save the lives of people who turned down a vaccine.
We see that you are making decisions about who to give a bed to and who to send home. We see that you are bruised from hours of wearing PPE. We see that you are working to care for a population that alternatively praises and blames you. We know that you are humans like us, but also so much more than us: you have taken on a task many would be crushed by.
Nurses and midwives, we thank you. We thank you for your unending professionalism and kindness in the face of so many obstacles. We thank you for your daily sacrifices to care for your communities. We thank you for doing more with less. We thank you for making the spaces you inhabit those of comfort and instilling a sense of normalcy.
We thank you for placing babies into the arms of new mothers, placing iPads in the hands of those dying of COVID to say their final goodbyes, and placing hope in the hearts of patients you advocate for. We know two years ago, lights were lit, parades were held, and news stories were printed in your honor.
Now, you continue to do your work in a world that has, by all appearances, forgotten that you are overwhelmed, overworked, and underpaid. I promise we haven’t forgotten, and we won’t stop giving thanks to you.
If you have a nurse or midwife in your life, hug them tightly. If you’ve been under the care of one, speak your thanks. If you see their burden, advocate for their recognition. And if you are a nurse or a midwife, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Written by: Emmanuel J. Osemota