Nurses Caring in Crisis and Conflict: We Celebrate You, And All Nurses
May 11, 2018
The professionalism and dedication of nursing began in times of war. Florence Nightingale and her team of 35 nurses confronted a 42% mortality rate in the Crimea in the 1800s.
They saved lives and struggled to change a conservative medical system. Their work reduced the mortality rate to 2%.
In keeping with that tradition, today’s nurses are also called upon to serve during conflicts, terrorist attacks, and pandemics — to care, take on risk to themselves and their families, and demonstrate the universality of human compassion and caring.
Nurses in the Middle East
Each year my husband Dallas and I spend three days in Aqaba, Jordan, at a conference with nurses from the Middle East. This conference and its work focus on Human Caring, the work of Dr. Jean Watson.
From the core of conflict on both sides of geopolitical violence, these nurses have courage far beyond what most of us know and understand.
Nurses from Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, the Philippines, Norway, Britain, Ireland, and the United States attend the Middle Eastern Nurses United in Human Caring Conference.
All share a single mission of caring for patients. All share their respective fears for their families, friends, and communities. And, they treat each other’s patients.
Nurses in Other Areas of the World
In many other areas of the world, nurses serve in the midst of a crisis or ongoing conflict.
Nurses in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in so many other areas where these events are occurring transcend the local strain and live and serve at a level of humanity where altruism comes alive.
Being a nurse has neither nationality nor bias; it is always about our shared humanity — about the relief of suffering and human caring. Dr. Watson states it clearly: “Caring is the essence of nursing.”
There is a universality about nursing that denies political differences. To the nurse at the bedside, a patient is not just a patient; he or she is ”my patient.”
The Nightingale Initiative for Global Health has taken on the celebration of nursing around the globe and informing and empowering nurses and other healthcare workers and educators to become “21st Century Nightingales” — working in the local, national, and global community to build a healthy world.
Today, in 2018, we honor and recognize the global calling that nursing is. We celebrate all nurses for their dedication, skills, and caring.
(If you have not done so, join the thousands of nurses across the world in signing the Nightingale Declaration.)
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