The Brave Among the Battlefield: A Tribute to Nurses Worldwide
by Vivienne Friday, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE
Program director, ABSN, Goodwin University
As a child growing up in a small village on the east side of Jamaica, I remember admiring the women in white and blue, who went from door to door carrying black leather bags and stethoscopes. And in their hands, as I watched as they proved time and time again, they carried the power of life and death as well.
They came by day and night, in sunshine and rain, and wherever they went, they made a difference. They brought joy and happiness as they ushered newborn souls into the world; they offered comfort and support as they ushered departing souls out. Every day, those women helped heal the wounded and brought peace to the suffering. Then, they got up the next day and did it all over again.
But who exactly were those women?
Fascinated by their fancy clothes and meticulous manner, I stared at them as sources of knowledge in my community — advocates and advisors, who graciously provided answers to anyone who approached them. They were eloquent and intelligent, eager to share knowledge and demonstrate skills, and continuously sought out the most efficient ways to do things. They were compassionate, committed, and caring. They were the Florence Nightingale Visiting Nurses, professional healthcare providers who practiced with a passion of purpose.
Later in my life, the lasting memories of those women inspired my love of learning, and I became a registered nurse, following in their philanthropic footsteps. I joined the millions of individuals around the world who make up the comprehensive healthcare system, and am now a part of a dynamic profession with a rich history of excellence in care.
I became a voice for the voiceless. Like the nurses I watched as a young girl, it is now my duty to help advance the nursing profession through evidence-based research, education, training, and by upholding the sacredness of the standards of patient care.
Now, as the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program director for Goodwin University, I am equally in awe of the acumen of American nurses. At the time of this writing (April 2020), nurses are going beyond the call of duty and putting themselves at significant risk to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and testing sites operate as battlefields without the necessary ammunition to eradicate the Coronavirus. Nurses fully understand the sacrifices they make by showing up to work, but with genuine kindhearted concern for the well-being of others, they continue to wage war against the COVID-19 virus. Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, one of America’s hardest-hit regions, stated, “The soldiers in this fight are the healthcare professionals.” (The New York Times & Reuters, 2020). Often first to arrive and last to leave, nurses are working tirelessly to end the pandemic.
While the COVID-19 crisis will eventually pass, nurses — nationwide and around the globe — will continue to fight valiantly and with dignity to protect and respect the rights and safety of their patients. Strong ethical principles form the foundation of nurses’ career conduct and focus them on selflessly protecting the sick, the injured, and the vulnerable. Nurses are led by an empathetic energy to work long hours every day at healthcare facilities, to improve the health of others.
The impact of these healthcare professionals is everlasting, immeasurable, and just like the nurses in blue and white from my childhood, their efforts will not be forgotten.
Dr. Friday is an experienced nurse educator with a love for learning and a desire to master various new skills. She is passionate about the well-being of elderly populations. As a nurse educator for more than 15 years, she maintains a focus on the infusion of robust gerontological content and clinical practicum within the nursing curriculum. Dr. Friday has authored and taught gerontological nursing courses and seminars, and engaged students in service-learning projects with older adults.
Vivienne is committed to educating nurses to be more competent caregivers to older adults. This commitment has resulted in scholarly publications and conference presentations at Education Summits of the National League for Nursing (2013 & 214) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress, 2016. She earned the National League for Nursing Hearst Foundations Excellence in Geriatric Education Award in 2013. Dr. Friday’s was also a contributing author of teaching strategies in the National League for Nursing’s publication Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors (2016).
Dr. Friday volunteered with the Area Agency in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as a member of the fundraising committee and at the Eastern Nebraska Agency for Aging as a Senior Medicare Patrol agent. She is a current member of the Connecticut Nurses’ Association (CNA) Government Relations Committee, an Advisory Board member for the Connecticut League for Nursing (CLN), and the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging (AWCAA) Inc. Dr. Friday serves on the Advisory Council of the National Education Progression in Nursing (NEPIN) and is a member of a special interest group that focuses on diversity, inclusion, and equity in nursing.