International Nurses Day gives visibility for healthcare workers to take a stand

They welcome visibility, but ask for maintaining extra staff, more presence in executive positions, and more time for research

A nurse walks through a hallway in one of Catalonia's public health centers (by Laura Fíguls)
A nurse walks through a hallway in one of Catalonia's public health centers (by Laura Fíguls) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 12, 2020 03:09 PM

Catalonia and the rest of the world is paying tribute to nurses, one of the sectors having to face Covid-19 in person in medical centers, as the world celebrates on Tuesday the International Nurses Day.

They have gained visibility with the current health crisis, as the second-in-command of the Hospital de Sant Pau’s innovation and projects in the nursing department, Meritxell Cucala, said in an interview with the Catalan News Agency.

“People have become more aware of the work nurses do,” she explained. “There is still a long way to go, but perhaps it could be an opportunity that the pandemic has given us, to make our work and this sector more visible.”

Yet, the sector is standing up for their role in the healthcare system. Cucala makes a call for nurses to be given more presence in decision making in the sector, as well as areas that influence it.

“This visibility means being more involved in decision-making bodies in the health system, within organizations, and in political contexts.”

In an interview with La Xarxa TV station, the president of Barcelona’s professional nurses association, Paola Galbany, said that the staff hired to cope with the covid-19 has to be maintained.

“It makes no sense to reduce staff to have to increase them later,” she said, speaking about a possible second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Galbany referred not only to a possible new outbreak, but also urged to “recover similar levels [of staff] of those previous to the 2008 financial crisis.” With cuts to the healthcare industry after the financial crash 12 years ago, staff levels were lowered, which only put more pressure on the rest of the nurses working in any healthcare institution. 

“This would, in a way, compensate for the overload of work nurses have had to do for several years,” she added.

The association of nurses believe 23,000 more are still needed to reach a level of “ideal care.” 

2020 is also the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, as declared by the World Health Organization. It was intended to be a tribute to the sector and a reason to rethink its future, but the pandemic has, at least for now, conditioned whatever restyling of the nursing sector can take place right now.