The advent and persistence of COVID [almost, two years to date] has had an undeniable, ubiquitous effect upon our seminal folkways and psyche. From our deemed most significant viz., the restrictions on interactive personal relationships, to the less impactful, but eerie and dystopic, wearing of masks, life is not, and may never again be, the same it was, pre-pandemic. Lifetime routines, including commuting to work, attendance at school, daily social interaction, food shopping, travel, seeking entertainment, and public assembly are included within the universal prohibitive list.
We have predicted that the extended and significant alteration of our traditionally ingrained routines has resulted in a somewhat more conscious self- awareness of the dynamics of life and of meaningful purpose and, conceivably, may never again be unquestioningly, and automatically, replicated. Some have acquired a new respect for empirical scientific research, others, especially with the rapid development of vaccines, have had their long-standing confidence, in scientific research ratified.
In an early essay, “Florence’s Lamp,” we noted the eternal and existential importance to Mankind of the nursing profession, and of its eternally dedicated and hard- working core of professionals. The celebrated efforts of Florence Nightingale, the venerated nurse- hero of the Crimean War, resulted in the development of proper sanitary and generally healthy conditions of hospitals and of patient care [not to mention, her practice of compassionate and encouraging night visits to the seriously wounded soldiers], has been recently and deservedly, extended to contemporaneously serving nurses.
It had long been our critical observation, that, despite the incalculable and valued contributions to society, rendered by members of the nursing profession, appropriate professional recognition and societal status, traditionally, was not afforded to them; with the possible exception of patients who have been hospitalized and noted the long hours of duty of such seemingly, tireless, devoted professionals. In-hospital services encompass, bedside patient, ICU, floor, Surgical, Emergency, Maternity, Lab, Pediatric, Geriatric, Infectious Ward, Hospice, and other needed services. There are, in addition to hospital and clinic nurses, office, travel, and home visit nurses.
This public perception has at last, appropriately changed by the horrific events of the Covid pandemic. Despite the pernicious and ignorant efforts of an incompetent and unhinged President, to downplay and dismiss the existential danger of the unprecedented, worldwide pathology, hundreds of thousands of human beings lost their lives and millions succumbed to this virulent epidemic. The World was, in effect, at war, having been unprepared for this unprecedented surprise attack, by this virulent microscopic enemy. Hospitals were overcrowded and challenged, hundreds of thousands were sick and dying, and, in fact, the population of the entire planet was mortally, challenged by this pandemic; a contemporary analogy to the pathological nightmare of the Medieval Dark Ages, the Black Plague
To the unparalleled credit of American medical science, effective vaccines were developed in comparatively, “blitzkrieg” time [approximately, one year], to aid in the prevention of this viral disease. This was only after multiple millions had been infected many of whom died from the disease. At the time of this writing, Covid-19 and its relatives [mutations] are still undefeated and many people [especially, those who for non-objective, political and atavistic reasons still refuse vaccination.
Since the beginning of this global attack, it was the nursing profession that constitutes, and still does, the courageous and tireless foot soldiers, boldly, defending Mankind from this egregiously dangerous and widespread invasion. Our Medical profession, of course, deserves great kudos as well; but it was the nurses who attended, and still attend, by the sick patient’s bedside, day and night, rendering care together with whatever assurances were possible.
The future will, no doubt recount the multitudinous hordes of people requiring immediate medical service from the finite number of overworked and overwrought nurses. The high tension, the intense responsibility, the number of mortalities, the overworked and overstressed, infection- outpaced nursing staffs, took, and still takes their toll on the exhausted health provider; many nurses ultimately, and predictably, present the characteristic symptoms of PTSD.
Regardless of the plethora of inexorable challenges wrought, and still persisting, of the pandemic, the stalwart dedication, empathy, and competence of the American Nurse is nothing short of heroic and, inarguably, worthy of commemoration in the annals of our American History