The Superhero in My Life

On May 6 began the annual recognition of nurses that has taken place in one form or another since 1954. National Nurses Week honors the caregivers who fuel the compassion of our health care system, treat us when we are sick, speak with our families while we recover, visit us at home, keep careful track of our status, revive us when we crash and hold our hands when we die.
I know well the emotional and physical toll nursing takes because my husband is a neonatal ICU nurse. I see every day the commitment and energy, the patience and the passion this work involves. Like all nurses, his job became more intense and difficult during the pandemic.
So, this year, we recognize the nurses who have helped lead us through the challenges of COVID-19 while continuing to put their patients first. We are grateful for their service during such a critical time for health care delivery. We are grateful for their leadership and input as systems were designed and redesigned to keep Vermonters safe. And we are grateful for nurses’ sacrifice as they often had to live apart from even their own families to prevent the spread of infection.
"Superhero" has been a word ascribed to caregivers over the past year. Rightfully so. In 2020, nurses stepped up and they doubled down. They earned the title of hero many times over—and continue to do so as they help vaccinate Vermont and play many vital roles in public health.
At VAHHS, we created an affinity group of hospital chief nursing officers before the pandemic was even imagined. We did that because their expertise and perspective is so valuable as we work to deliver the best possible care to our patients and communities. Then, during the pandemic, it was enormously productive to convene the nurse leaders to help inform Vermont’s effective and compassionate response.
I have no qualms about saying that the nurse in my life is a superhero, and I know so many of you feel the same about the nurses in your lives. Tell them this week. Buy some flowers. Give a big hug. Say thank you. The nurses who love and treat you have earned it.