Today is International Nurses Day and this post is nothing more and nothing less than a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you‘ – a big Birlinn shout-out – to nurses everywhere who have been on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus. We are asked to shine a light from our windows tonight, 12 May 2020, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. We do so at 8.30pm in recognition of the work of nurses during this particularly difficult period, recognising their sacrifice, and knowing the impact on their own physical and mental health both now and in days to come.
The thing that is affecting me the most is when patients are dying, and relatives are not allowed in to say goodbye. Having to hold the phone up to a patient so their family can say goodbye is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.Helen, age 21, nursing in Edinburgh.
Two weeks ago, the author Alexander McCall Smith wrote a poem, ‘Those Who Care‘. He wrote it for nurses and carers, for doctors and first responders, for all working in the medical profession – in hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries. We share it here with our thanks to the heroes who are all around us.
Those who care
None of us remembers that first meeting – Tumbling out into a very different world, Into your receiving hands; Blinking at the light, we breathed The strangeness of oxygen Saw the unfamiliar walls Of the delivery room, And the first ceiling we had ever Looked at and wondered what it was. That was the first thing You did for us: welcomed us, Ushered us into infancy And childhood, and the years beyond. We never thanked you But do so now, rather late, But with all the feeling Of the long overdue Expression of gratitude, The tardy repayment Of an ancient debt. Since then, from time to time, You have picked us up, Dusted us down, bandaged The occasional consequence Of our failure to look Where we’re going Or to behave quite as we might; Tolerant, like all good Members of your professions, You said nothing, but did What was necessary. And sent us on our way, Patched up and healed. Now, quite suddenly, we call on you, And the call is an urgent one, You are there, of course, it never Occurred to you that you would be Anywhere else than at our side. Hour after hour, day after day, You are there, the support Of those hands that first delivered us Embracing us once again, With the same love, the quiet And gentle care; once again We spell out our debt, our gratitude, You say, “It’s what we do” We nod and say, “We always knew.”
– Alexander McCall Smith, April 2020