According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.7 million nurses were registered to work in 2014. That means that nursing is the largest profession in the entire healthcare industry!
Most of us probably didn’t even know that there was a day set aside to honor the hard and skilled work of nurses. This year, we can all appreciate more than ever before the importance of our nurses’ efforts.
Read on to learn all about National Nurses Day and how people become nurses, as well as how you can help support them.
The History of National Nurses Day
National Nurses Day was first established by Ronald Reagan in 1982. Much of his inspiration came from the incredible example set forth by Florence Nightingale, possibly the most famous nurse of all time.
Florence Nightingale’s birthday is on May 12. For this reason, National Nurses Day was placed on May 6, so that there would be one week between National Nurses Day and Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This week is known as National Nurses Week.
Nursing has come a long way since the days of Florence Nightingale. As we saw before, nursing is now the most populous profession in all of healthcare.
It’s incredible to note that, despite this fact, there is still actually a shortage of nurses! Nurses are so important that even when they are already the largest part of the healthcare industry, we still need more of them.
What Does It Take to Become a Nurse?
Becoming a nurse first requires some level of education, You can get a 2-year associate degree in nursing, a 2-3 year RN diploma, or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in nursing.
After you’re educated, you’ll need to take an NCLEX-RN examination and obtain a state license to become a nurse. You can then be legally employed at hospitals across the country.
Types of Nursing Jobs
There are many different specialties within nursing.
Critical care nurses help patients recover who need skilled care to avoid dying. Travel nurses go wherever there are patients who need them. Home health nurses look after people who can recover at home if properly cared for.
There are also pediatric nurses, nurse anesthetists, cardiac nurses, and many other kinds of nurses to help people no matter their condition.
How Do Nurses Manage COVID-19 Exposure?
These days, we pay a lot of attention to how nurses are helping in the battle against coronavirus, or COVID-19. This is rightfully so, but we also need to realize that nurses have to help take care of all of our other health needs at the same time! It’s an incredible and taxing burden, and they have to keep at it for many months.
Not only is COVID-19 difficult to fight, but it also endangers our nurses who are entrusted to help care for the infected. Nurses and doctors have been some of the people hit hardest by COVID-19. Not only have many of them been infected, but they’re having to do more stressful work for longer hours.
Early reports of COVID-19 emphasized that it could be spread by something called “surface transmission.” This is when someone infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, or breathes on a surface.
Once the virus is on a surface, someone else can touch the surface so that the virus ends up on their hands. While COVID-19 doesn’t pass through the skin, someone with the virus on their hands may touch their face at some point. The virus can get in through the mouth, the nose, or the eyes.
While this is a frightening idea, it suggests that people can keep themselves safe by washing surfaces, washing their hands, and not touching their faces. Nurses are used to careful sanitary practices.
How Else Can Nurses Become Infected?
Recent reports have talked more and more about the danger of sharing airspace with an infected person. The COVID-19 virus has the potential to spread through the air either by droplets or aerosols.
We know for sure that tiny droplets of moisture are breathed into the air by infected patients. These droplets carry the virus in them and can infect nurses and other people nearby. These droplets quickly fall to the ground, but if they touch the mouth, nose, or eyes of another person before they do, that individual may become infected.
Aerosols are extremely small droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. While they can stay in the air for up to three hours, we don’t know for sure if these minuscule droplets can infect anyone. If they can, then nurses are at even more risk than we realize.
Nurses are medical experts and know more than most people about the potential transmission risks of caring for the sick. That they do so anyway requires bravery and they should be applauded and supported. We need more people willing to do such important work.
How Can I Help Nurses?
Not all of us are in a position to do health care work. We can still do our part to support the healthcare industry! The most important thing we can do is abide by social isolation and careful sanitary practices. Nurses need as few new patients to care for as possible, and it’s essential for our own health as well.
Nurses need as many donations of blood as possible, so if you’re healthy, consider donating! Nurses are vulnerable to infection and need plenty of quality protective equipment to work in. Learn to make masks and organize other people to help get nurses the supplies they need.
There are always more ways to support our nurses so we can do our part.
Make This National Nurses Day a Special One
We’ve always known that our healthcare workers work hard to help save lives. Now, more than ever, we see how important their work is. We can all do our part to support them, even if we don’t work along with them.
We hope you learned some helpful things about nurses and National Nurses Day in this piece. To learn more about healthcare, health, and how you can help out our nurses, check out our other pages.