Last week my husband and I spent several days in the hospital; it was the longest either of us have ever spent with doctors and nurses. After two nights sleeping in hospital chairs, relying on the medical staff to tell us what to do and how to eat for my husband’s newly diagnosed condition, I came to respect and appreciate nurses in a way I never had before.
My mother has been a labor and delivery nurse my entire life, yet somehow it eluded me how much time, energy, and love goes into the work she does every day. Unlike the work I do behind a computer, her job in the hospital directly touches people’s lives—and I know now how much her patients impact her as well.
The nurse we had in the intensive care unit stayed with us in the room when we were nervous, she hunted down a sleeper chair once she realized I’d slept in a folding chair the night before, she emptied bedpans, and lovingly wrote notes on our board to make us smile. When we were weak, she was there to help us through, and for that I’m very grateful.
According to the 2011 World Health Organization (WHO) Statistical Report, there are an estimated 19.3 million nurses and midwives around the world. That’s tens millions of people who put their lives in danger to help protect their communities, and yet not nearly enough to help support the hundreds of millions of people who fall ill every year; especially in countries where many people don’t have access to local medical facilities.
Take Action Challenge
In order to celebrate the work of many nurses around the world, we’d like to publish a photo essay of photos of your favorite nurses. Please upload a photo of your favorite nurses on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag them with #RNsRock.
Lead photo of a nurse from the NGO World Vision providing polio vaccination given by the World Health Organization to displaced children in the UNAMID base in Khor Abeche, South Darfur. Photo by UN Photo/Albert González Farran