Nurses are Everything: Honoring National Nurses Week 2020


rom as early as I can remember, my sister wanted to be a nurse. She somehow knew deep down in her soul, even as a little girl, that it was her destiny to have the letters RN behind her name. She worked so hard for those letters, and the ones that followed: BSN, MSN, and CWOCN.

This National Nurses Week, I stand in awe of my sister. She goes to work every day facing an estimated 20% risk that she will contract COVID-19. Her hospital, like many, has a shortage of personal protective equipment, which only increases that risk. She administers life-saving medications, changes dressings most of us wouldn’t want to look at, comforts people in some of the hardest times of their lives, and then turns back around and does it all again the next day. It is her calling.

Many of us are having these same feelings – looking at the nurses in our lives with awe and gratitude. We at Alteristic base our prevention work on the power of helping, and nurses are some of the strongest helpers among us. They don’t just help their patients, nurses help to make our world better. The New York Times recently published an article on the 1918 influenza pandemic that demonstrated how the service of nurses responding to the flu, along with their efforts during World War I, helped to win suffrage for women in the U.S. A nurse founded the Red Cross. A nurse is responsible for opening medical professions to people of color. A nurse stopped the institutionalization of those with mental health struggles, creating systems of support and care that benefit us all.

Today, nurses stand on the frontlines of this crisis, putting themselves at risk, doing some of the hardest work imaginable – for us, for our parents, for our children, for our communities. They’re advocating for the rights of patients and healthcare workers, with the odds so often stacked against them. Every day, we have the opportunity to see them changing our world for the better.

I recently read an article featuring big thinkers’ predictions on what a post-Coronavirus world will look like.  One of these thinkers, Mark Lawrence Schrad, predicts, “a new kind of patriotism,” wherein we will salute doctors and nurses who served on the frontlines of COVID-19 in the same way we salute military veterans today. I hope we see that change. They deserve nothing less.

Find a way to honor the nurses in your life this week. Make a donation for their hospitals to purchase personal protective equipment. Share your gratitude on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. Learn more about amazing nurses who have changed the world. Call a nurse you love and tell them how you feel about their work right now.

We at Alteristic honor the helpers, and this week, we are humbled to honor our courageous nurses. They are everything.

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