Although International Nurses Day has been celebrated on May 12 for decades, it has rarely received the public attention it deserves. This year is bound to be different because the Covid-19 pandemic has led to greater appreciation for healthcare frontliners.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing, and it is a day to honour nurses around the world for their tireless and selfless dedication in the face of illnesses and disabilities.
As the head nurse at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Hasnoni Mohamed has often made personal sacrifices in the name of public service, something that other frontliners have to endure too as the world battles Covid-19.
Hasnoni, who is in charge of the hospital’s staff nurses, said these were very challenging times as healthcare workers had to deal with long working hours, fatigue and missing out on family time.“As frontliners, we are potentially more exposed to the virus and we face extreme tiredness. We have been working round the clock and must push aside our longing to be with our families, ” she said.
“Patience is the most important element in carrying out our duties.”
Hasnoni, who has been a nurse for 21 years, including seven as head nurse, said her biggest wish was to see the elimination of Covid-19.“My hope is for the country to be successful in fighting the threat of this virus and ensuring the safety of our rakyat and nation, ” said Hasnoni when asked about what she would wish for in conjunction with International Nurses Day.
Hasnoni expressed hope that Malaysians would adhere to the movement control order (MCO) so that the Covid-19 infection rate stayed low.
“People should stay home and only go out when needed. They must practise social distancing and immediately go for a check-up if they experience any Covid-19 symptoms, ” she said.
For Che Wan Mazniza Azreen, a nurse at Klinik Kesihatan Pagoh, her experience in three states is a source of bittersweet memories.
“I’ve been a nurse for the past 10 years in maternal and child health clinics and this year is by far the most challenging.
“Our leave has been frozen until further notice and we need to run Covid-19 screenings for all our patients as they are in the vulnerable group, ” she said.
Che Wan is thankful that her patients have been cooperative and truthful when probed about their travel history and any close contact with Covid-19 patients.
“My only hope for International Nurses Day is for the people to stay safe and stay home during the Hari Raya period. The celebration happens every year but you only have one life, ” she said.
Malaysian Nurses Association president Sharipah Asiah Syed Junid Aljunid hopes that the courageous work of healthcare workers amid the pandemic is a form of honour to International Nurses Day.
“Nurses are in the spotlight and all around the world, this pandemic is revealing the irreplaceable work of nursing for all to see. It is a great challenge to the nursing profession.
“Our heart goes out to all the nurses and their families for all that the nurses are doing to care for people and to keep the rakyat safe.
“To all nurses, today symbolises international recognition for the commitment and concern you have given to the community and we are so proud of all of you as our Health Heroes, ” she said.
Sharipah said to show appreciation to all nurses, Malaysians should follow all the Health Ministry’s rules and guidelines.
“People should not be selfish, especially during the upcoming Raya celebration, as it is a crucial time for our frontliners, ” she said.
Source: The Star