International Nurses Day is celebrated every year on May 12th around the world to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, thought to be the founder of modern nursing.
Healthcare institutions are action settings where multiple actors with distinct roles but two common objectives – to cure and prevent diseases – come into play. This is where nurses, often invisible, perform their patient-care duties, fulfilling a vital role in the healthcare system.
Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) was a British nurse considered the pioneer of modern nursing, creator of the first nursing conceptual model and developer of nurse training programs in and out of hospitals. Nurses Day is celebrated on this date in her honor.
In 1918, during the influenza pandemic, which affected more than 40 million people worldwide and was considered the most devastating one in history, nurses upheld one of Nightingale’s teachings: proper hand washing as an infection prevention method. Nightingale’s guidelines prompted a change in the conception of nursing at the time: through the development of a formal theory. For this reason, she is credited with founding modern professional nursing.
Nursing is a discipline that has evolved and consolidated throughout a historical process and has proven is capacity to adapt to change. Thanks to the modernization of medical records, among other factors, it can also become more efficient and effective.
How do nurses help prevent infections?
Mastering nursing care is of vital importance for the prevention of infections.
Nursing staff play a vital role in preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections. Nurses are often responsible for educating patients to prevent and minimize the spread of diseases and possible ailments.
Even though hand washing is a simple and effective infection control method (washing with soap and water and applying an alcohol-based disinfectant afterwards), it is imperative to approach patient care with attention to detail and following hygiene and disinfection protocols. In a room with immunosuppressed patients, the smallest breach in the nursing protocol could cause an outbreak. Therefore, hand hygiene, the use of gloves and other protective equipment are essential.
It is also important to reinforce sterilization and disinfection at healthcare facilities, to avoid using antimicrobials.
What is the role of the nursing staff?
Nurses are in charge of maintaining order and compliance with sanitary standards. Their actions also help to reduce the length of hospital stays.
The safety of patients is linked to inherent processes of medical assistance, such as the organization of services and nurses’ ability to provide an optimal quality of healthcare, to look after and protect them. Care is one of the core purposes of this profession, but beyond the required technical skills, it is of utmost value to have great sensitivity in dealing with patients.
Nurses conduct activities related to patients’ health and well-being, which usually vary according to each person they treat. They also manage patient care and medical records and facilitate communication between patient/family and health professionals/health institutions involved in each case.
We at Fibonacci want to acknowledge the vital role of nurses and recognize all those who dedicate their lives to a profession of service for the whole humankind. Nurses made a vital contribution in the battle against COVID-19 during the peaks of the pandemic and took center stage in the news. However, they have been playing an essential and fundamental role in all societies since Florence Nightingale fostered the leadership of this occupation with professionalism, experience, and skills.