Nursing; a rather often misunderstood profession usually looked through prisms that portray it in its medieval forms. The tray holders; the trolley pushers and the physicians’ assistants; that’s probably what majority understand nursing profession to be. But it is much more than that.
Nursing is care in a holistic form; for the infirmed, the dying and even the most healthy. Nursing is care for every category of the social strata; the individual, the family and the community. Nursing is helping you recover to a state of optimal health when you become sick; making sure you attain the highest possible degree of life quality when you are healthy and ensuring that you maintain it.
You could clearly deduce what a holistically encompassing profession nursing is by reading through the description of the functions of the nurse given by Virginia Avenel Henderson, who said, “The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge.”
In the same vein, “Nursing can be described as both an art and a science; a heart and a mind. At its heart, lies a fundamental respect for human dignity and an intuition for a patient’s needs. This is supported by the mind, in the form of rigorous core learning.”
Drilled in theory and rigorous clinical trainings, the central philosophy of the studies of nursing is its emphasis on person-centered care, taking not only the biomedical but the psychological, social and environmental aspect of it. Every person’s algorithm of care is different from that of the other; nursing is purely person-centered.
Nurses are multitaskers, at a time, they can serve as educators, counselors, confidants and at another they can serve as care givers, mediators and advocates for their patients.
Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, the custodians of hospital wards, the most stressed yet still the most empathetic and compassionate. The nurse is that person that invests all of her time into understanding you and the challenges you’re facing in her quests towards formulating the right plan of care specifically for you.
The nurse is that person you puke on and he/she smiles, that person that cleans and dresses your wounds no matter how obnoxious and still smile. He/she is the one that does your manual disimpaction (evacuation of feces by inserting your gloved finger into the anal canal and breaking up the impacted feces with a scoop-like motion), does your vulva toileting and still respects you and uphold your dignity.
And after all the care and that fondness the nurse develop for his/her patient, he/she gets the most psychological hit when a patient is lost (nurses can’t count how many of such incidences they have had to cope with!), imagine how devastating this could be!
Yet with all these, he/she is looked upon as an inferior being. They spend the most hours working yet their remuneration is relatively discouraging; they remarkably manage the wards and make it conducive for both patients and other health workers, yet they are looked upon as people that do not have the ability and capacity to manage the entire hospital; They are the closest to the sick yet they still are deprived of their right to be part of health care policy making; They are the backbone of the healthcare system yet appropriate investment in their education is an option the government is never willing to properly consider!
Today, nurses stand firmly, guarding the wall built between you and the ravaging pandemic, and despite all challenges they’ve had to face, they still stand, bravely!
Let us appreciate them and celebrate with them “The 2021 International Nurses Week”
I am proud to be a nurse!
Ringim, a registered nurse, writes from Zaria via [email protected]