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The profession that has gone from the background to the front lines

On the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are our heroes. Those individuals on the front lines who have been working to make sure our country keeps moving. These heroes, our healthcare workers, postal workers, pharmacy workers, food and agriculture workers, volunteer staff, individuals in public works, law enforcement and all our essential workers have all done their part to ensure that South Africa and its citizens are able to keep moving.

As we took a moment to acknowledge all of our essential workers on May 12, we reminded ourselves of the important role nurses play in our lives by celebrating National Nurses Day. At the end of the 19th century, “The Lady with the Lamp” — or as she is more widely known, Florence Nightingale — founded modern nursing. Thanks to her strict use of handwashing and hygiene practices while caring for wounded soldiers in the Crimean War, Nightingale and her helpers reduced the death rate from 42% to 2% — ushering in nursing as we know it today.

Generally, nurses exist in the background of our lives. We only see them when we need them. The last few months however, have brought these important individuals to the forefront. We’ve all now gotten a glimpse at how deep this profession goes. Helping people can be a monumentally hard job. Caring for the sick? Possibly holding someone’s hand whilst watching over their last moments? It takes a special kind of strength, will, and composure to do these things.

Let’s all take some time to show our appreciation for these individuals and, further, let’s keep it going year-round. To all the nurses out there, thank you for what you have done, what you’re doing today, and for what you will do in the future.

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