Nurses’ Day provides a rare opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication, passion and commitment that makes nurses the mainstay of the entire medical profession, says Heila Leach, Scientific Affairs and Education Manger, ICU and Rest of Hospital at 3M Southern Africa Nurses’ Day is celebrated annually on 12 May.
“Doctors tend to get most of the credit, but nurses are responsible for around 96% of all contact with patients and their relatives—they are the unsung heroes of the medical profession,” she says. “3M salutes the role that nurses play in all aspects of health care, and urges other stakeholders also to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the contribution that nurses make.”
Nurses’ Day marks the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the British woman who pioneered nursing as a profession calling as a profession every bit as stringent (and valuable) as any other. The theme of this year’s Nurses’ Day is Nursing: The balance of mind, body and spirit, to recognise the multi-dimensional role that nurses play and the mix of qualities they need.
3M has recently begun offering customised professional learning to South African nurses via its online Healthcare Academy. The Healthcare Academy offers nurses the opportunity to keep abreast of the latest research and insights. Training sessions and workshops can be accessed online for free via computers or mobile devices, allowing busy nurses to use small portions of spare time productively during the course of the working day.
“South African nurses will soon have to begin undertaking continuous professional development in order to remain registered with the nursing authorities. In advance of this move, which will bring us in line with global best practice and the medical profession as a whole, we have already begun repackaging our global training to make it more relevant to local conditions,” Leach says. “Most nurses do not have either the time or resources to attend conferences, so the Academy provides an easy and affordable way for them to plug into what the profession’s brightest minds are saying—and so increase their skills.”
By coinciding with the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, Nurses’ Day also reminds us that the fundamentals of nursing remain as important as ever. For example, earlier this month, on 5 May, Hand Hygiene Day was celebrated. Hand hygiene was identified by Florence Nightingale as a cornerstone of infection reduction in nursing, and remains so to this day.
“Hand Hygiene Day is an initiative of the World Health Organisation and is a response to the fact that approximately one in 25 patients acquires an infection from health care workers. This shows that the foundations of nursing are solid, and need to be reinforced in order not to compromise patient health and to support the huge advances in health care generally,” says Nadine Numan, title, at 3M. “Nursing is built on practical, effective routines backed up by dedication and commitment—Hand Hygiene Day reminds us of that.