Nurses Week, which started on May 6th, acknowledges the commitment, compassion and care nurses display while practicing their profession. This is a week that COTA celebrates the nurses we know and care about; to reflect on the power of their profession; and to salute them.
This year’s National Nurses Week theme is “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.”
The hallmark of an ethical professional is shown in the quality of patient care that is delivered when no one else is watching. When your patient can't speak your language. When you will walk away a week after your job and you will never see that patient again. When you know that malpractice is not an option, hospital administration oversight is minimal and peer reviews are not an issue....but you do the job just as you would if those pressures were present.
Children of the Americas had 28 of those kind of nurses on our recent medical team in San Benito, Guatemala this past January. Twenty eight people who were ethical, competent and altruistic and treated each patient just like they would have if they were practicing their profession in the United States.
Without our nurses, patients would not have had their needs met, surgeons would be missing expert staff to pass instruments and prep patients, and post operative care would have been missing without our team nurses.
Our nurse volunteers are our support system: our foundation.They spent a week working long hours while paying their own expenses to travel with us. They give up vacation time that could have been used to be with their families. COTA nurses return to the United States with empty pockets, tired feet and a major dose of fatigue. Our organization could not ask more of them because they already give 110%.
In short, we would not have had a medical team.