Letter for Florence Nightingale

Submitted by "FOR US"- Association of nurses, midwives and dental nurses
May 3, 2020

Our dear Florence Nightingale,

To influence the course of  history and health-social trends, you need to be really strong. Being strong means being a NURSE! And time behind us has shown that only with a strong desire and brave spirit can achieve the values that we consider to be a real human need, how the world would look more humane, more grateful, filled with love and happiness for as many people as possible. And the most often bearers of the progressive ideas that bring humanity are we – the nurses, who with our love for the profession and the daily acts of humanity we do, are deeply engraved in what is called the past, the present and our eternal future!

This year, on May 12, we were supposed to celebrate your 200th birthday with dignity. This 2020, which is dedicated to us nurses and midwives, is undoubtedly OUR year. A year that was supposed to start very differently … Unfortunately, we are in an unprecedented period of time marked by anxiety, a period that many call the “War with the Invisible Enemy.” Just as you excelled in your work as the leader of the nursing and fought during the Crimean War, where you tirelessly cared for wounded soldiers, so today we are – your offspring – we are the heroes who many seek. It’s not easy really, to be the “Lady with the Lamp” and fight for another day, and for another, and another  …

At this moment, I would like to convey to you the selfless sacrifice of your collegium of nurses who are on the front lines of danger, when everyone else retreats to the safety of their homes. This was supposed to be a wonderful start to this year, this was not a battle we signed up for, but no matter what we took up arms and we fight. We have chosen selflessness to care for all those who have been, all those who are still and those who can be infected with this virus, even though the very act of caring can endanger us, ourselves or our families.

As the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has spread in recent months, it is increasingly felt that time is at a standstill. Our profession has long been accused of being noble, since the time when you were an example of compassion and commitment. That is why we now have the enormous privilege of carrying the burden of preserving human dignity every day amid uncertainty, and to be part of the moments of vulnerability to “flattening the curve” requires a special kind of selflessness and strength. We have learned from you the ability to be a humane and compassionate person, as well as the common will to create a more beautiful world. With the power we have we influence, we change and save lives every day, we strive for the health for all and we provide the necessary care that patients need, because WE are the Voice that leads, because we play a key role in providing health care.

Yes, our dear Florence … And one day when all this will ends, only then will we be able to look at all the emotional and physical scars of this battle. Do you know that there are no mistakes or coincidences? Maybe all what is happening to us now is just an opportunity to learn something new or this year “accidentally” was chosen for our?!” I learned that you don’t have to compare yourself to the best others. You have to walk for a long time until you get tired. Heroes are people who do what needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. Only in that way you will discover what you are and what you have! Heroes are all nurses and midwives from around the world who work for hours of the day and night no matter where they are, whether it is an ambulance, a hospital, a clinic, an emergency, nursing homes, etc …

For me, heroes are all those who have spent long sleepless nights away from their loved ones. For me, the hero is a colleague who had to leave her three minor childrens to take care of themself, while her husband, who tested positive for coronavirus, struggled in a hospital setting, while she was forced to be in self-isolation instead of being at work and together to fight.. For me, heroes are those colleagues who spent the nights in hospital rooms and corridors, for me heroes are those who secretly cried hiding from their families and childrens, all that with the fear that they would put them at some risk. For me, heroes are all those who in every cell in their body have so much faith and strength to help the whole world. You know, in this whole battle I’ve learned that the greatest source of happiness is to help and be benefit for others, the best medicine-optimism, and the most successful defense-smile.

These are the moments when we feel we want to give up. But we keep fighting! Maybe now we’re just wondering “why and when this will be over?!” Maybe these are the days when people are trying to test our intelligence, skills, knowledge and the duty to be where we need to be. There are times when we re-examine our abilities, our awareness and consciences and intellect, but we can still rise above it all. We’ll rise up because our strength as a nurse is not determined by just one level or one task or obligation – it is an unstoppable journey towards learning, honor and the chance to make even the slightest difference in the lives of our patients at this time. And while everyone around us is at their homes, only we and our colleagues continue on the path of this battle. This is OUR year! This is OUR International Nurses Week! This is OUR moment! Today is our day, and tomorrow too! We are proud of our call for help. Dear Florence, I know that you see all this from somewhere and I hope you are proud of … US !!..

With endless respect,

Elizabeta Nasteska

(FOR US – Association of Nurses, Midwives and Dental Nurses)