International Nurses Day 2024: The economic power of care

Nurses posing
Photo by: Rhian Campbell

The world recognises International Nurses Day on 12 May, coinciding with the birth date of English nurse and statistician Florence Nightingale. Since its first observance by the International Council of Nurses in 1965, the celebratory day highlights nurses’ vital role in both healthcare and broader society.

IND 2024 is themed, "The economic power of care," aiming to reshape the perceptions and assumptions about nursing that contribute to underfunding and undervaluation, and highlighting the need to prioritise economic investment in the profession.

At Health City Cayman Islands, nurses Maricel Dela Cruz and Malini Marimuthu say Health City has been meaningfully invested in their career development and in the nursing vocation. The company hosts a regular training programme for nurses that keeps employees abreast of the latest medical advancements and helps to expand professional skillsets. It also hosts regular health conferences that encourage continued education and networking within the healthcare sector.

“Nurses are educators that impart knowledge to the patients and their families, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health," Dela Cruz said.

“Some people think that we are only assistants to doctors; it is one of the most taken-for-granted jobs in the world. However, we have a vital part in the medical field. We are dedicating our lives and careers to helping others.”

Marimuthu was encouraged to enter nursing by a teacher who was a former nurse herself. She counselled that nursing would provide stable, financially sound and emotionally fulfilling work. She took the advice, graduating nursing college in 2018 and starting her career at Narayana Health in Bangalore, India. It was there she developed a passion for oncology, working in the bone marrow transplant unit of haemato-oncology. She began working with HCCI in 2022, and after seven months in the general ward, she moved to the radiation oncology department and has been working with cancer patients since.

Nurse posing

Her colleague, Maricel Dela Cruz, describes being awestruck by the presence of her community’s nurses as a young person in the Philippines. Their crisp white uniforms and radiant aura gave her the sense that nursing was an admirable profession. As a naturally compassionate person who had always been drawn to helping others, nursing seemed like the ideal fit for her future profession.

Nurse at work

She now works alongside Marimuthu in Health City's radiation oncology department. She says long-term care for patients battling cancer requires empathy, agility and resilience. As patients’ first and most regular point of contact, nurses build intimate relationships with their patients and, over time, become like family. They learn to anticipate emotional needs, even if this simply means offering a quiet listening ear. A patient’s physical well-being can change day to day, she says, which means nurses are required to be incredibly flexible, setting aside their own needs to prioritise their patients’.

Both say the profession is a labour of love.

“With a warm heart, empty stomach, aching back, tired feet, full bladder, you’re not only a nurse, you are also a healer, helper, protector, leader, advocate, problem solver and communicator," Marimuthu said.

“I wish all the nurses out there a happy International Nurses Day."

This article was published in the May 2024 print edition of Camana bay Times. 

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