Nursing Week, like so many other days of recognition, has taken on new meaning this year.
When the World Health Organization named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, nobody knew there would be a global pandemic, and that, as a result, these health-care workers would finally be recognized as the heroes they’ve always been. Their long-deserved praise is literally being sung from balconies and rooftops and blasted by horns and sirens.
All I can say is, it’s about time.
Nurses are not only tending to the physical needs of patients, they’re standing in for families who can’t visit their loved ones and providing emotional support when no one else can. Yet, in doing so each day, driven by an unyielding call to care for others, nurses are putting their own health and wellness at risk.
As a fellow nurse and former hospital administrator, I know first-hand how devoted nurses are to their work. I also know the toll that working in health care can take on mental health and wellness.
Long before the pandemic, 40 per cent of health-care workers reported being in the advanced stages of burnout, with many experiencing stress-related conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
That’s why I’m so proud of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC’s) resources to promote mental wellness in health care. Whether it’s Caring for Healthcare Workers assessment tools, The Working Mind training for first-responders, or a webinar series of best practices to support health-care workers during COVID-19, the MHCC’s work is this area — like health care itself — is always evolving.
I hope that when the pandemic is behind us, and the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife has passed, we continue to celebrate the contributions of nurses everywhere. COVID-19 may have reminded us how important nurses are today, but it’s up to us to remember that tomorrow.
President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3748 / firstname.lastname@example.org