Florence Nightingale once said, “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.”
What fitting words from this pioneer of modern nursing – a woman who dedicated her life to the treatment of the sick and frail and whose actions changed caregiving forever.
During the Crimean War, Nightingale led a team of nurses, improving the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital which reduced the death count by two-thirds. Her work and writings sparked reform worldwide, improving hospital design and establishing safety and sanitary standards.
And she opened the Nightingale Training School for Nurses, transforming nursing from a service to the respected profession it is today.
And now – 200 years after her birth – I am proud to see so many women and men who, like Nightingale, have followed their calling into nursing and are delivering actions, not just words, as they respond bravely to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has been referred to by many as our generation’s great war.
And while we asked much of society to retreat into the safety of their homes, nurses have not hesitated to run towards the battle. Day after day, our nurses innovated new ways to offer care and compassion to those we serve and worked tirelessly to design processes to try to keep each other safe. We’ve heard countless stories from families and patients impacted because their nurse who not only cared about their clinical needs, but also cared for the whole person – body, mind and spirit.
They are truly working on the front line, laboring tirelessly to address the needs of our patients while stringently following procedures and guidelines designed to keep themselves and others safe.
And yet, through it all, they are also lifting each other up and finding creative ways to ease the fears and loneliness of patients who must be kept apart from their loved ones.
On this National Nurses’ Week, during this unprecedented time and in a year proclaimed the year of the nurse, I would like to thank our Texas Health nurses for their resilience, their dedication and for being the heroes that we all look to in times of need.
Barclay Berdan is the CEO of Texas Health Resources.