Thank you signs with red hearts adorn the yards of neighborhoods throughout the country. Bakeries and delis are sending lunches and pastries to hospitals and doctor’s offices each day as a thank you to our medical professionals. Social media posts are highlighting the many hometown heroes who wear scrubs and place themselves in the center of the battle against the invisible virus. There is no doubt, that nurses (and other medical professionals) are indeed heroes. But let’s not forget that they have always been heroes; putting others before themselves is in their blood. Being a nurse is not a career, but a calling and a lifestyle that is not suited for just anyone. Nurses are a rare breed, friends, and as we observe their heroic efforts from the safety of our own homes, we must celebrate those who are out there keeping us safe.
Given their consistent commitment and dedication, it’s not surprising to find stories about the power of a nurse from both before and during the COVID crisis, which are equally touching. They do what they do every day, in and out of crisis, and in the face of sacrifice. Here are some things (as told by nurses and those who love them) that we must remember and celebrate about our heroic nurses:
They are Dedicated
“I remember the moment [my wife] decided to be nurse. We were headed home and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said ‘I want to do that.’ I asked what [she wanted to do]. She said ‘help people’ and after a few moments of silence she said ‘[I want to be] a nurse.’ She immediately developed a plan to leave her current job in marketing, go back to school full-time and become a nurse. That is exactly what she did. I am amazed everyday by her dedication, passion, love, kindness, strength, and honesty. She is the best person I have ever met and I strive every day to be more like her.” -Michael, Simsbury, CT (pictured below)
And When the Profession Continues to Call, They are Willing
“I am a former Emergency Room nurse who now works in the insurance world. I am no longer in the front line however I did complete a survey sent out by the CT Nurses Association indicating that I would be willing to assist in caring for Covid19 patients if needed. I have been away from the hospital setting for approximately 5 years. I didn’t even think [twice] about signing up to volunteer. When you have done bedside care for over 20 years, it’s just an automatic response to jump in and help. A part of me misses being on the front line.” -Tracy, Simsbury, CT
They are Committed
“My kids sometimes call me Mommy Nurse and I know that my two worlds are constantly blending together despite how I try to keep them separate. My two worlds exist simultaneously but I try to keep them compartmentalized as much as possible. You see, at least 3 times a week for 12+ hours my focus is not on motherhood, homeschooling, or homework for that matter. My focus those days [is on] my patients. I'm [also] worried about homeschooling my children for distance learning while not bringing home COVID-19 to them. I'm scared that I’m going to be stuck at the hospital for an extended period of time. I am worried about having childcare for my children so I can continue to do the job of helping people who need it.” -Nannette, Simsbury, CT (pictured below)
They are Moms to Adult Children
“Being the son of a nurse has it’s obvious perks. Growing up, my mom always knew how to treat a wound and care for my siblings and me when we were sick. Until recently, I always associated nurses with physical treatment, which is correct, but I’ve learned there’s more to it than just that. My mom helped me get through my first breakup. She helped ease the pain when my best friend died. She’s been my rock for as long as i can remember, and even now, she’s fighting on the front lines to care for people she’ll probably never meet again in her life. Usually the roles are reversed when someone says they’re proud of you. I couldn’t be more proud to be the son of a nurse. Love you mama. “ Jalen, Kansas City, KS
They are Compassionate
“As a mother of 3 pediatric nurses that are facing this pandemic crisis, I see the strain on them mentally and emotionally. As far as I know, they have not been in direct contact with any COVID-19 patients. However, they make contact with doctors, nurses and staff, who may have been exposed. They don't have fear for themselves, but fear the spreading of it to someone else unknowingly--a co-worker, spouse or family member. They feel the pain of patients who can't have visitors and do their best to be a caring substitute. I know they have the resolve to adjust to the necessary floor and staff changes yet still stay compassionate and caring for the most important people in this--their patients. I continue to pray for all people that are affected by this disease. In the end, I believe God is in control and will see everyone through this global crisis. I am very proud of the girls we raised and the vocation they chose.” Gina, Franklin, MA
They are Wise
“At a time when I didn’t think I could get through another day of tests and pain and doctors scratching their heads, Joan, the curvy, Jamaican nurse, told me that ‘God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.’ Her voice had authority in it, but not a trace of severity. Had anyone else said that to me in that moment, I would have lashed out. But with Joan I immediately felt better. I believed her. I knew she was speaking from experience. Her presence announced genuine care, wisdom, and fierce courage. She was the person who made me believe that angels are walking around on this earth.” -Christine, Glastonbury, CT
Nurses aren’t stepping up their game during this crisis, rather they are doing what they have done and will do every day of their careers: they are putting others first without hesitation. Whether we call them heroes, essential workers, guardian angels or simply nurses, they have been just that all along and they will continue to put others first long after the COVID crisis. So let’s not forget just how essential they are and always will be. And if you are grateful for a nurse or other essential worker, be sure to let them know. Send an email, write a social media post, or mail a good old fashioned handwritten thank you card. Don’t ever underestimate the value of a simple thank you.
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