Few people would have even noticed International Nurses' Day last year. This year, however, the whole republic knows about it, because this year the paramedics outperformed themselves. The day falls on May 12 and celebrates the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. At 12.00, therefore, the bells will be ringing all over the country as a thank you to all the nurses and healthcare workers for their extraordinary commitment during this difficult coronavirus time.
"At the request of the Minister of Health, the Czech Bishops' Conference joins the celebration of the International Nurses Day, and on Tuesday, May 12 at noon, church bells will be ringing to thank God for the receding pandemic and to express our gratitude to healthcare workers, especially nurses, for their dedicated work in the demanding service of love for the sick,"
wrote the General Secretary of the Czech Bishops' Conference Stanislav Přibyl to all parishes in the country.
"I've been working in healthcare for years, and honestly I've never felt so important, even though I do know that my job is important. When the bells start ringing, I believe that many people will be thinking of us, which gives us the strength to continue working," a nurse working in the front line said to LP-life.cz.
Thousands of invisible patients
There are over 80,000 nurses in the Czech Republic. Most of them work in health care, but thousands of them, together with 40,000 carers, take care of people in need in the less visible areas of social services.
"In this globally challenging period, nurses have once again demonstrated to the world the endless dedication and hard work that is proof that their mission really comes from the dept of their being. They have a strongly developed sense of duty to help others even in situations where they themselves need help. A huge tank-you should go to them for that," Petra Pipková, the director of one of the SeniorCenter SeneCuras in Prague's Klamovka, who used to work as a nurse herself, said about the work of nurses during the pandemic.
Few people are interested in working with seniors
Unfortunately, working in social services as a nurse is often not considered a prestigious or demanding job. Yet the opposite is true: the nurses have to be very experienced, responsible and independent, because they perform their jobs without additional specialized background supporting them. The work of nurses in nursing homes brings more responsibility. "Simply put, nurses often substitute a doctor, who isn‘t present here at all times. Personally, I don't mind such a responsibility, but not every nurse is comfortable with it. In hospitals, there is always a doctor on hand, but here you have to make quick decisions on your own," said Jana Csuková, head nurse from the Terezín SeniorCenter.
Florence Nightingale was a hero
At the beginning of last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 the International Year of Nurses and Midwives. At that time, WHO had no idea how crucial nursing staff would turn out to be exactly this year. The day is celebrated in honor of the war heroine and founder of modern nursing care Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). Back in her day, this Englishwoman chose a then non-existent profession of a nurse and promoted it to a respected profession. The basis of her success is strict hygiene observance in hospitals and infirmaries, ventilation, quality and hearty food and appropriate lighting. She was monitoring the condition of the patients even at night, which earned her the nickname "lady with a lamp". The oil lamp later became a symbol of nurses. Florence advocated the opening of the historically first school for nurses, participated in the opening of a medical college for girls and also became a pioneer in the use of patient statistics.
This year also marks the worldwide project of the International Council of Nurses and WHO "Nursing Now", which aims to increase the prestige of the nursing profession, improve the working conditions of nurses, keep experienced professionals in the job and, last but not least, attract new students to the field.