Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7pm tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Column: Reflecting on the importance of nurses and the life lessons they offer

Council Report by Louise Wallace Richmond

I am the daughter of a nurse.

As I am to receive my COVID-19 vaccination on May 3, forgive me a moment of reflection on the importance of our nurses.

Nursing is a profession, of that there is no doubt. It’s also a commitment to heal the sick and help the hurt.

There are many nurses in my life who’ve fostered in me a culture of care. One that I see in others.

I suspect many of you are the children, siblings, partners or parents of nurses too.

COVID-19 has taught me humility.

I’m not important but the decisions I make can be. I get emotional thinking about the work I’ve witnessed this last year in countless meetings with those who care for the vulnerable in the crisis of our time.

Nurses are found in hospitals and care centres. That kindness is also found in day cares and schools, food banks and shelters, fire and police departments, grocery and retail stores, in taxis and buses, in board rooms and staff rooms and yes, even in government. Because the nurses taught us that our ability to care for one another is the very thing that will get us through.

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My mom still reminds us to wash our hands. She never really stopped nursing. Neither must I. Neither must we.

I’m very humbled by the work of city council this last year. Honestly, there were some long worrisome days and very difficult decisions. We set aside funds for COVID-19 grants and were strategic with our restart funding from the province. Staff are working split shifts to keep everyone safe. They provide essential services because a city never stops, not even for COVID-19.

We’ve not met as a group in person for more than a year. I miss it terribly.

On the odd day I get to city hall, I peak my head into council chambers just to remember that soon, I’ll be back in that chair that I’m so grateful to have been offered by my community.

Being a city councillor is the best job I’ve ever had.

For now, we must all continue to nurse each other back to social, cultural, environmental and economic health.

Nurses often check vitals. You can too.

Reach out to family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to ask a few key questions. How are you? Are you sleeping? Are you eating? Are you getting outside? Do you need anything? Can I help? It’s a continuous loop of care. Turns out that never stops either, not even for COVID-19.

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. My mom said so. And, she is a nurse, after all.

National Nursing Week begins Monday, May 10. It’s time to put those hearts back in the windows.

Louise Wallace Richmond is a municipal councillor with the City of Salmon Arm.

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