Miller Time!

James Miller

Here’s something nobody says enough — thank you, nurses.

May 10-16 is National Nursing Week in Canada and now is an appropriate time to recognize the great work nurses do for our community.

Anyone who has spent time in the hospital praises the work of the nursing staff. If you read letters to the editor, there’s an average of one per week from a patient thanking staff at Penticton Regional Hospital. Nurses are usually mentioned in the first paragraph.

They’re very hard working, demonstrate professionalism and always put the patient first.

“Caring” is perhaps the best word we can use to describe not only South Okanagan nurses, but nurses everywhere.

Before entering the profession, an average of four years of post-secondary education is required — and it’s a tough program.

A nurse’s job is hard. They tend to every patient’s needs, including bodily functions. They sometimes deal with people at the lowest point of their lives. They do shift work — which can be brutal — often 12 hours at a time.

Great nurses have excellent communication skills and they keep the system from breaking down. They communicate with the patients, doctors, family members and support staff.

The past several years have been especially challenging for nurses in Penticton. First they worked through a major renovation at PRH.

Next came COVID.

When the pandemic broke, nobody knew what to expect. Nurses were putting their own lives on the line, as well as their family’s lives. Many lived in hotels in order to protect their own kids and partners.

They did this because they care about people’s lives.

It’s been challenging because people are frustrated not being able to get in and see their loved ones, the way they would during regular times. Dementia patients are confused as to why their family appears to be ignoring them.

Many retired nurses have come out of retirement to help during the pandemic.

The fine work of nurses extends beyond the hospital and out into the community.

Please join me and, if you know a nurse, send a text, email or call them this week. Thank them for doing what they do.

James Miller is a columnist at The Penticton Herald