“We are closer to the front line than we would have ever imagined”

This blog was written by Matt Daley, Nightingale Challenge Fellow

When we entered the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020, how many of us could have imagined the challenges we would now face, as individuals, professionals, countries – as humanity as a whole. Nurses have more in common now than at any other time, being asked to respond with greater leadership and professional capabilities than before. For many of us, we are closer to the front line than we would have ever imagined, as we play a central role in the global fight against COVID-19.

There has never been more public support and goodwill shown to nurses, midwives, our colleagues, and key workers in our time, and this is because of your willingness to step up, to act together, to care and support for those who need it the most. Talking to colleagues around the world has been inspiring; sharing ideas, practice, tips, providing working solutions to our daily challenges, dealing with each other’s anticipation and apprehension whilst all the time managing the contrast of the rapidly increasing pace of our roles with our own periods of self-isolation, particularly if living away from family.

As individuals, we may feel trepidation of what is before us and what is asked of us but look at how you have adapted to the challenges and look at the resilience you demonstrate on a daily basis. In our living memory, this has never happened before, however, we are united in working to see the end of this shared episode in history.

As we prepare, try to grasp our ever-changing strategic and operational plans, research, train and for many, encounter our first patients with COVID-19, look around you at the professional bond and support you have for each other, and if you feel overwhelmed, think of this – focus on what is within your control, acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, process them and engage in what you are doing.  Look after yourself, look after each other. Seek help when you need it, seek help for your colleagues when you see that they need it, whether physical or psychological. What you are doing is amazing. We will look back and say how proud we are to be a member of this profession, at this most challenging time.

To all of you, stay safe, stay well, be kind to yourselves and be kind to each other.