Every year in May, nurses and nursing support staff are recognized for the care and compassion they provide to their patients and their families. It is nearly impossible to find the right words to thank and describe what nurses and nursing support staff have done over the last year, which has been remarkable in so many ways. We asked nurses and nursing support staff to share their honest reflections on the last year, whether they be triumphs or challenges. Here’s what we received.
I am incredibly proud of the amazing group of nurses I have the privilege of working with every day! In the last year, the staff of 3A have endured multiple changes and disruptions to both their professional and personal lives and have embraced each challenge with resilience. They have exemplified tremendous team work and dedication to providing quality patient care. Big thanks to the nurses who have gone the extra mile to keep up group morale. Happy Nursing Week everyone!
This past year has made my role feel non-essential due to the roller coaster of deployments that have followed. But those deployments provided me with new experiences, new friendships and new perspectives. I am humbled by those who are more “essential”, I am hopeful for the future of health care and I am grateful to have worked under and alongside some extraordinary people.
Thank you for the opportunity to express my feelings of how this last year during COVID has been here in the ICU/MET/RCCR. First of all, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of such an incredible team here in the ICU. I have worked in critical care for 30 years and I am now in my last year of work here in intensive care. I would have never guessed that my last year would be put to the test and be as challenging as it has been. I found out that I would be impressed by fellow colleagues daily on how they cared for patients here in the unit. There were many times of empathy, consoling, hand holding, skyping to families, tears and many laughs. I have seen exhaustion, emotions and many extra hours dedicated. I also discovered that if you treated patients the way you wanted to be treated, they would usually respond much better and sometimes there were unexpected outcomes. I just wanted to say thank you to all my co-workers and especially management here in the ICU. Our doctors, nurses, ward clerks, house keeping, dietary, social workers, physio, maintenance, IT, MET and RCCR who made this challenging year a memorable one.
I can’t think of a time in my long career when I have had to ask nurses to do more, work harder, work differently, change direction immediately and then change again, to give up more of their personal lives, put themselves at risk and all of this with no end in sight. Thank you for putting patients first, not losing your empathy or your professionalism. We are all exhausted and looking forward to the end of this long nightmare. Someday, this will be a memory and you can all be proud to say I was part of this war and we won! In the meantime, I am proud to say I am a nurse and proud to say I work with some of the very best!
Never in my over 30 years of nursing did I expect to work through a pandemic. Truth be told we can all add ‘worked in the year 2020’ to our resumes. We are part of history in the making. Once again proving to be a flexible, brave, adaptable and determined profession. From masks, face shields, gowns, goggles and receiving a vaccine, we as a group have remained strong and I am proud to be part of this group. Hold your heads high during our week. Stay strong and know that people do recognize our sacrifices.
A few weeks ago, I was doing some spring cleaning and organizing. I came across my nursing graduation memories, and in that folder was the Florence Nightingale Pledge that I gave the day I graduated. It re-inspired me at a time in my career where I am trying to give back more than ever. All that my coworkers, teachers, mentors and family have demonstrated, taught and inspired me to be over that 34 years of nursing cannot be repaid. I look at it as paying it forward with the care that I give each patient and family that I have cared for throughout the years. I love what I do and I want to continue to work with this incredible team, which feels more like a family. Like all families, we are not perfect, but we can be great together. Just like any family, each person brings such unique and valuable assets to make it work every day. I look forward to investing a few more years with this department.
This past year has really brought out the best of our team at our Hospital. Everyone has pulled together, supported one another and has worked incredibly hard during a very difficult year. The community support shown to our staff during this pandemic has been overwhelming, and it has been so appreciated and really provided that boost of motivation when it was needed. I really felt proud to be a frontline worker during this challenging time, and I was extremely proud to be a part of the ICU team as well. In almost 20 years of bedside nursing, I never would have imagined working through a pandemic of this magnitude, and I hope we never have to again.
The year 2020 has been difficult and unprecedented for all of us nurses on the front lines. It has otherwise been named “the year of the nurse.” In my humble opinion, I think that what makes us “heroes” is our resilience throughout all of this. No matter the circumstances, we put our all into caring for those in need and are willing to show dedication to this wonderful profession. I have such gratitude for my co-workers, especially those in the Intensive Care Unit, who have continuously shown me what teamwork, compassion and strength truly mean.
We have made it so far in this pandemic time. Change was and continues to be a constant in the units for all staff. I would like to reflect on how resilient all staff were and continue to be to adapting on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis. Multi Care Kidney Clinic, Home Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis took on virtual clinic models like champs and keep fine tuning to ensure the highest level of patient care is provided. In centre hemodialysis staff RNs, NPs, dialysis aides, clerks, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers, patient educators and coordinators continued to provide patient care without missing a beat. Our service levels did not go down but activity was added with off-unit patient care on 3A and in the ICU, keeping this team busy. The satellite hemodialysis units in Sioux Lookout and Fort Frances worked very independently with at first weekly phone touch points to ensure communication and support was being provided to staff to now monthly check in’s. The entire team has been amazing and flexible during these times of COVID. I heard this quote at some point and it resonated with how I have felt during the pandemic: “It’s OK to be brave and afraid at the same time.”
Reflecting on this past year what stands out the most to me is how everyone sprang into action and immediately stepped up to the plate despite their worries and their fears. This didn’t really surprise me, because this is what nurses do, they put themselves aside to help those in need. Seeing this in action warmed my heart and it made me so proud. Proud to be part of such an amazing profession and so proud to be a leader to an exceptional group of professionals.
I knew how hard everyone has worked, to come to work and be the best they can be, to support their patients, to support families, to support each other, all the while not knowing how this was going to play out, worrying about their own families, worrying about their patients, their friends and their community. They came in with their brave faces, ready for whatever was going to come their way. The constant changes, new information, new protocols, it seemed there were days where things were changing by the minute. The nurses were ready, they were nimble and they pivoted, in fact on many occasions as leadership was planning to roll out a new process, the nurses were already steps ahead suggesting the very work that was underway.
It has been a very long, tiring year and while everyone is most certainly feeling the impacts of this prolonged pandemic, one thing has not changed, our nurses are still just as dedicated to their patients and their profession and are still willing to spring into action as needed. Nurses are strong, caring and compassionate, they do not look for recognition but they are most deserving of it. I will forever remember nurses as being heroes in this pandemic and I know that they will continue doing what they do best and can always be counted on to rise to the challenge.