WHO YEAR OF THE NURSE AND MIDWIFE SERIES: INTRO POST AND INVITATION
“You need to go to the nurse’s office,” my first-grade teacher said to me.
I was confused. I felt fine. Why did I need to go see the school nurse? I was just under two years old when I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Because of this, it took a long time for me to learn what a low blood sugar felt like. Bu the time I was six, it was still har. More often than I care to remember, I ended up uncontrollably shaking, unable to speak, with my mother spooning honey in my mouth.
With such a young diabetic, there was some push back in my attending public school. But my parents had a meeting with the principal, the school nurse and my teachers, resulting in a crash-course on diabetes care. Usually, it meant giving me a cookie and sending me to the nurse’s office, calling my mother, or both.
I liked the school nurse. I even liked going to her office. She didn’t look at me funny while I ate a cookie at 9:30 in the morning, and smiled at me even when my speech was slurred. She always seemed to know when I needed her to take my hand and tell me I was going to be okay, and that no one but the teacher noticed that my blood-sugar had been too low. Though she was small, only a bit taller than I was at that early age, I felt safe whenever she was around.
Still. It was my class Easter party! Why did I need to go to her office? I knew better than to protest. Or maybe protesting hadn’t occurred to me yet. So, without hesitation or question, I walked the school hallways alone to her small, safe office.
She greeted me with a huge grin. “Happy Easter!” she said.
“Happy Easter,” I shyly responded. The nurse had some Easter bunny colouring sheets, and a plastic carrot, that when a small switch was flicked, popped open with a white rabbit and an ear-piercing squeak! I loved it. After a while, she asked me to come and sit in her chair, where she called the real live Easter Bunny on the phone. Yes. You read that right. I spoke to the actual Easter Bunny on the phone that day in school. It still is one of the best memories I have from my childhood.
When I went back to class, everyone’s desk seemed especially clean. It took me a few years to figure it out—they all had shared Easter candy when I was with the nurse. Candy was something that diabetic kids can’t play with- and though I was well prepared to not have any while everyone else did, the school nurse took the time and to make that school Easter Party into something extra special for just me.
Perhaps that is when my love of nurses started, perhaps before. I have at least a dozen memories of nurses doing just what I needed emotionally, not just saving my life, but saving my soul.
So when I learned that 2020 was designated as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by the World Health Organization (WHO), I wanted to celebrate it! I wanted to thank nurses. I wanted all the nurses in the world to know how much they mean to me, and how grateful I am for them.
The best way I could figure out how to do that was to invite my friends, our Bloggers, and everyone—including you—to join in on this celebration.
To be clear, 2020 was chosen well before the Corona Virus to be the year of the nurse and the midwife. These are a few of the reasons:
- It is the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth (May 12, 1820).
- Nurses and midwives make up more than 50% of the health workforce in many countries and, in some cases, may be the only medical provider in rural or developing areas. Because of this, nurses are essential in improving public health outcomes around the world.
- 2020 will be the first year in which the WHO will release a World’s Nursing Report. Some of the goals addressed by this new report are the educate and reduce infant mortality by 30% and reducing Malaria instances by 30%
- Nurses are in global demand and we desperately need more! In the U.S. alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the U.S. will need an additional 200,000+ nurses per year from now until 2026. This is an example of one developed country, offering a powerful refection of a massive global need.
- It’s the culmination of the Nursing Now campaign. Nursing Now is a global campaign to improve global health by raising the status and profile of nurses.
- Both Nursing Now and the WHO describe a “Triple Impact” that comes from supporting nurses: better community health, stronger economies, and greater gender equality.
The church has it’s own ties to nursing and midwifery that we will be blogging about in this series (remember the church’s 2016 invitation for there to be a nurse in every mission?0. We are thrilled to be sharing various stories from LDS nurses, midwives, doulas, and patients on various days through September and October.
We would love for you to join us and read about these amazing (mostly) women, and for those who are nurses and midwives, or have been helped by nurses and midwives, to consider writing for us, and participate in our series. PLEASE SUBMIT A GUEST POST!
I am eternally grateful to these primarily female health care providers. You have all made and continue to make the world a better place. Thank you.