President's Message May 2019
I am delighted to greet you all in the week that we celebrate International Nurses Day. It is particularly gratifying to welcome so many new members to our Federation; we are growing in strength.
Since 1974, International Nurses Day has been officially recognised, to coincide with the birthday of our Mentor and Pioneer, Florence Nightingale; although, I have it on good authority that members of our profession were attempting to get recognition for nurses’ day as far back as the 1950s.
We know of course, that Florence Nightingale established the modern Western nursing role, setting standards for care, and founded the first Nursing School. Since the days of Florence, the concept and reality of ‘care’ has become an important social mission.
It is true, to recognise that nurses all over the world are still fighting for the appreciation and recognition that they deserve as a profession. It is our mission, to be a positive part of this challenge.
The international Council of Nurses, (ICN), has designated the 2019 theme for celebration as:
Nursing: Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit
It is undoubtedly a reality that the contribution and importance of Nurses and the Nursing profession, is somewhat neglected and misunderstood across the Globe; but it is also true to state that this is changing; as indeed it must; if health care services are to be provided as intended, universally over the coming decade.
Nurses service to humanity is one of the identified greatest focusses for our profession, regardless of where we are providing this important role within all of our societies.
Perioperative Nurses are a force for change, a vital resource of perioperative expertise and knowledge; which is imperative for delivery and improving health systems throughout the world.
Yes, my friends, I am talking about us.
What are the qualities of the perioperative nurse? In my experience and opinion, I would choose to use the following to describe my profession.
We are a sustainable resource of safe quality healthcare delivery, communication, leadership, saver of lives, fighters of disease, carers’ for families and communities from the cradle to the grave; contributors of proactive and preventative medicine, surgery and social care; united with a single purpose and goal, collaborative, experts and visionary environmentalists. This is, by no means an exhaustive list!
Perioperative Nurses are a voice to be heard, to be vocal and strong; to be involved and engaged in Policy Development and delivery, in the best interests of perioperative patients across the globe.; to be advocates of justice for patients and families; to exercise power and influence and have IMPACT.
The voice of the perioperative Nurse in respect of human and cultural rights, dignity, respect, the right to life and choice, and the right to be involved in actions against social injustice.
I particularly favour a definition which I read, provided by ICN, which states health as a: ‘complete state of physical and mental health that enables a person to live a socially and
economically productive life’ (ICN2019).
It is somewhat hard to believe that this definition is even required to be stated in our 21st Century, highly developed social, industrial and healthcare systems; but unfortunately, it is.
Keeping to the theme on what might be considered appropriate in terms of the balance between mind, body and spirit; it is important to acknowledge that as nurses, self-nurturing is not a self-obsessed activity for individuals who lack stamina and resilience; as indeed I have heard it summarily described in some circles.
It is imperative that as a profession we acknowledge that self-nurturing includes care of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs, as a basic requirement of every individual on the planet.
Our own well-being comes not just from physical health, as is often considered the case, but from mental, emotional and spiritual health in addition. Each aspect is interconnected and affects the other tremendously.
If we are to continue as perioperative nurses, in our commitment to the hard work that is certainly part of each and every one of our day jobs, including the resilience, drive, care and compassion that are the platform of our patient care delivery; then, I believe that we must be prepared to self- reflect, to self-care, and to consider all the aspects of our individual lives.
This is important in order, for us to be best placed to provide the appropriate and relevant level of safe and standardised healthcare for our patients, whilst considering and accounting for our own needs and requirements in addition.
As perioperative nurses, we are a highly specialised profession, working with patients at the most vulnerable time of their lives. Our skills, responsibilities and competencies are extensive, and require a personal level of commitment and resilience, that needs to be considered and managed, and which can only be undertaken on an individual basis.
As I have said before, everything, in the end comes down to ownership and responsibility, and I again share my own mantra in terms of personal commitment.
‘it always begins with me- and for that that I am responsible’.
My friends, let us please continue to believe in ourselves and have value on the outstanding and unique contributions that is the essence of perioperative nursing; and to which we all daily contribute in our own unique and special way.
Happy Nurses Day for May 12th 2019, and may the next year continue to be a successful and worthwhile physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experience for our patients, our colleagues and ourselves.
With Kindest Regards, Mona Guckian Fisher President-IFPN (2018-2021)
International Council of Nurses (ICN) https://www.icn.ch/what-we-do/campaigns/international-
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