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The role nurses play in our society should be respected and valued

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Today is International Nurses Day (IND), a day which is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

The IND theme for 2015 is: Nurses: A Force for Change: Care Effective, Cost Effective.{{more}}

There are many international days in support of a variety of interest groups and causes, but there are few professions that are more deserving of a day of recognition and acknowledgement than nursing.

Today, nurses have attained the heights of academia, management and specialized training and provide care in diverse areas. It is our nurses who are at the front line of our health care systems, very often risking their lives in the process. Only a few months ago, when there was the most recent outbreak of the ebola virus, we were reminded of the vulnerability of our health care workers, particularly our nurses, in the face of contagious diseases.

It is our nurses who interact with patients, educating them about healthy lifestyles and the promotion of public health. It is they who form the backbone of the health system, which certainly would collapse without them.

We live in societies which are increasingly uncaring and indifferent to the welfare of others. Our attitude quickly changes when we ourselves or our loved ones need care. This is when we truly appreciate and respect the role nurses play in our society. It is often only when a patient is at his or her weakest that the importance of the care and compassion provided by nurses hits home.

Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, several dozen nurses are trained each year by the Government, but sadly, many only sign up for the programme because they are in need of a job. It is this small minority of individuals who give the profession a bad name. Nursing as a career can provide its practitioners with a rewarding and fulfilling life, but it should only be embarked upon by those with the right attitude, who love people and truly want to provide care to others.

SEARCHLIGHT salutes and thanks our nurses and wishes them a ‘Happy Nurses Day.’

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