May 8 to May 14 2017 is recognized as National Nurses Week in Canada
As with most professions, nursing has evolved into its modern-day plethora of specialty bodies of knowledge and skills, but the basic pledge upon which nursing has advanced, regardless of its focus of care, has never altered.
The basic slogan of the life of its founder Florence Nightingale, “Here am I — send me” (Edith Gittings Reid) speaks to her attitude of selflessness and service. Today’s modern Nurse pledges to continue in that same spirit of offering his or herself in the service of others.
Nurses do not go away empty-handed however — the gift of serving is returned many times over through the privilege of bearing witness and sharing intimately in a range of human experiences.
Whether as the birthing agent for easing new life into the world or out through the valley of the shadow of death, comforter to life’s inevitable suffering or celebrant in the joy of healing — no greater privilege can be shared between humans.
It is through sharing in the suffering of another that we ourselves learn “compassion” which means literally “suffering with” (Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth).
Nursing is a calling to care and “the ability to care is the hallmark of the human, the touchstone of morality and the ground of holiness. Without the warmth of care, the world becomes a graveyard. In the kindness of care, the divine comes alive in us.” (John O’Donohue, The Invisible Embrace, Beauty)
During Nurses Week we celebrate our chosen profession and the privilege it offers for serving our community.
Happy Nurses Week. Celebrate proudly.
Karen Hirst, Registered Nurse