2020: Year of the Nurse

By: Kimberly Derkach RN BSN

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year we honor and highlight the unwavering commitment of nurses to care for all patients whether in hospital or the community.

Every day registered nurses, doctors and other health care providers care for individuals who are extremely unwell and/or infectious. This is our job, our passion, and as the first line of contact for the public’s health concerns, I know that many front-line services will be essential in caring for those impacted by COVID-19. As our individual and global health continues to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic we have an important opportunity to highlight the vital role we can each play in keeping the world healthy, and safe.

As a Registered Nurse, it has certainly been a dynamic experience not only in Canada, but globally. As the spread of the coronavirus swept the world globally, I want to share with you what I am witnessing from a holistic perspective.

I have personally witnessed the ways that this pandemic is bringing into focus how interconnected and interdependent we all are. Living in the modern world, we can often lose sight of our place as part of the larger picture and our mutual dependence upon each other for our survival, food, water, shelter, medicine, safety and protection.

I see how collectively we are looking at our health differently. We are becoming more aware.I am witnessing more open dialogue about overall health, wellness and strategies people can take to keep themselves and their families healthy and safe.

I see how people are more willing to make lifestyle changes to boost their immunity.I see how people are open to new ways to take care of themselves holistically in order to reduce stress during these uncertain times.

I see that self-care for nurses, and health care professionals is more crucial now than ever before.

I see how we all can play a critical role in preventing the spread of this virus by recognizing that we each have a unique capacity to provide support to our communities.
Given the looming fear and uncertainty, we can each take the time to empower ourselves and our society during this time to establish and enhance health promotion, and disease prevention. A bright spotlight is currently highlighting our collective health, and we can choose to integrate this opportunity by reconnecting with our whole being. We can begin to shift how we reflect on our health as we care for ourselves as individuals, as families, and as a global community. We can find new and innovative ways to strengthen our commitment to caring for ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, while advocating for healthy people on a healthy planet.

There may not be a recipe, prescription, or perfect compass to navigate the depths of what we are currently experiencing, however, there has never been a greater opportunity to look to nature to find moments of peace and calm.
Nature has always had innate ability to ground and center me. During this pandemic, I have found that experiencing nature has been crucial for my overall health and wellbeing. By getting out into nature I replenish and reconnect with myself, and also connect with the lessons from nature’s infinite wisdom.

Being with nature I become aware of the infinite circle of life. There is evidence of decay, destruction and death, and there is also examples of rejuvenation, restoration, and renewal. The never-ending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth can put life into perspective and give a sense of constancy after experiencing life changing events; something we are constantly faced with as nurses. Ultimately, the peace and serenity of nature contains answers to many trying questions, and there is so much we can learn when we come to realize ourselves as part of nature.

Connecting with nature has helped me heal throughout my life, and when possible, I seek to spend time in nature daily. This could be something as simple as walking down a tree-lined street, tending to my backyard, or garden, eating lunch near a window to listen to the sounds around me, while taking in the scents of nature.
There are many ways to experience nature, even if we are not always able to physically get outside. Our lifestyle, environment and how we cope with stress is an important factor in our quality of life and healing, especially now.

Nature is always here for us, and is a source of solace and healing in the presence of difficult times.

Share This