2021 was a year of uncertainty–but it was also a year for reflection, important self-discoveries, and an investment in one’s own mental and physical well-being. With everything that is currently challenging our healthcare system, I am humbled to see healthcare professionals putting aside differences, political views, and coming together towards a common ground: to support and protect the communities that they serve. Although the strength of the nursing workforce will be tried and tested in the coming years, I am confident in their role and contributions towards advancing healthcare access and health equity of our nation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health equity as being achievable when, “everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being.” (WHO). To make this notion possible, it is important for healthcare professionals to have the tools, resources, and support that they need to be successful. The Future of Nursing 2020–2030 report published by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) outlines the crucial role that nurses play in advancing health equity. The report finds that health equity is achievable through developments in workforce, leadership, education, and overall well-being of both current nurses and new nurses entering the profession (The Future of Nursing, 5). Although all the conclusions and recommendations advised by the NAM are invaluable to the future of the nursing profession, self-care and overall well-being stand out to me significantly. After all, if nurses aren’t taking care of themselves or healthcare systems fail to support our caregivers both physically and mentally, then how can we care for others?
As a former practicing RN working 12-hour nights in the ICU, I understand first-hand the burnout that comes along with working long shifts understaffed. Compounded even further by a global pandemic, staffing shortages and lack of resources, it is hard to fathom what it is like to be a nurse navigating through the current healthcare landscape. Nurses and caregivers–or those who possess “The Caring Gene”, are constantly putting others above their own personal health and well-being. It is important for all caregivers and nurses alike; now more than ever, to develop a plan for self-care, as mental and physical well-being not only aids with empathy and compassion but it also fosters an environment to provide quality care and improve patient outcomes.
To this effect, Davin Healthcare, a nurse-led organization, has made an unwavering commitment. We are allocating substantial monetary investments to aid with self-care via new technologies and resources to support the brave men and women who are working tirelessly each day to help improve patient care within the healthcare delivery systems and communities we serve.
This pledge goes a step further, as we continue to find ways to bolster our support to our hospitals and educational partnerships. This includes additional funding, educational scholarships, and leading class healthcare workforce technologies carefully designed to help build clinical capacity within nursing and allied healthcare throughout the United States.
Although it might seem difficult to hit pause and take some down-time, the benefits of doing so will be reflected during your shift tenfold. Whether it is through physical, mental, spiritual, or psychological means, having a solid plan in place is important to pave the path to success. If this pandemic has taught us any valuable lesson, it is that tomorrow is not promised. We must take the time to care for ourselves and for others, find a healthy work-life balance, and celebrate the simplest moments in life that are often taken for granted. Together, we can, and we will, continue to care for the future of nursing and healthcare!
The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.nap.edu/read/12956/chapter/2
World Health Organization. 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/health-topics/health-equity#tab=tab_1