By: Jessica Dzubak MSN, RN
The Year of the Nurse has been an emotionally draining, physically exhausting, and socially challenging one thus far. There is no doubt that nurses have willingly stepped up to the plate and served their patients and communities in unimaginable circumstances. What was supposed to be a year of celebration has turned into a somber time of reflection and gratitude for the sacrifices of nurses and their health care colleagues.
The events of 2020 have shaken us all in ways we never could have expected or prepared for. There are no guidelines or protocols for some of the issues we are facing. What we all need to remember, not just nurses, is the importance of supporting one another.
Everyone is struggling this year with problems at home and at work. Lives have been disrupted. Relationships have been tested. For frontline nurses, the decision to care for others may mean losing precious time with their families and loved ones. New nurses are entering the profession in one of its most challenging times. Seasoned nurses are returning to work or switching specialties to help. Some nurses are furloughed or working reduced hours, while still trying to support their families. No matter the situation, there is no denying that these times are difficult.
Nurses, by design, are naturally empathetic. Our abundance of caring is what makes us so great. We may not know everything our colleagues and friends are dealing with, nor should we assume. But what we can do is always keep kindness in mind.
Asking for help or even admitting you are struggling can be extremely difficult for some people. Asking people what is wrong can put them on the spot or make them uncomfortable. Being kind, however, is always appropriate. Being kind is defined as having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature. Lending a helping hand, starting up a casual conversation, or doing an extra nice thing for someone can make a world of difference.
It can be challenging to be positive all the time; no denying it. We are all facing our own challenges right now, and sometimes it’s hard just to maintain a smile and positive attitude throughout the day. Meaningful connections with those around us offer a mood boost while making everyone involved feel more supported. You don’t have to be openly discussing problems to be there for someone or to provide comfort. Sometimes just being a calming presence and being kind can make all the difference.
We are not alone in the challenges we face, now more than ever. We must stand together, support one another, and always, always remember to be kind.