Let the Lamp Light the Way: 3 ways you can help a nurse.

In this time of uncertainty I am struck by the work of a certain group of people; those in the medical profession. While I sit at home in comfort; writing blog posts, teaching virtually, and enjoying time with my family; nurses and other medical professionals are fighting the battle for all us.

They are sacrificing more than I can even imagine and we all should be thankful for them and all that they do! We are all doing our part to fight the virus and for most of us that means enduring a quarantine. But, for our medical friends they are spending countless hours and risking their lives caring for the sick. Often while lacking the equipment they need.

Nursing (and being in the medical field in general) is a noble profession. I think it's safe to say that world's most famous nurse, is the heroine Florence Nightingale. She is known as "the Lady with the lamp" because she often made night rounds while tending to the battle wounded during the Crimean war in the mid-19th century. Her efforts both abroad and in her native England sparked a worldwide movement to improve conditions in hospitals and overall healthcare reform.

During the 1918 influenza epidemic nurses made their own face masks, refused to give up on the sick (many of whom were soldiers returning from WWI), and selflessly worked to care for others. This poignant image sums up the attitude those brave nurses embraced.

And now we are in 2020 witnessing history in the making during a world wide pandemic. No longer are we looking at the pages of history in a book- instead we have become the history. All over the world nurses and other healthcare professionals are going into the front lines for us. Some have died for us. They are caring for the sick and dying, just as nurses have always done, and risking their lives. For many of us these people are our family and friends.

Remember them, thank them, and share their stories with us. The more we can hear about their experiences the more we can appreciate what they are doing for us. So what can we do for them?

1. Donate masks that you have at home to your local hospital. If you have extra masks at home you can donate them to your local hospital. Many hospitals have information posted of their website about to donate. A simple google search can give you answers about where, when, and how to donate.

2. Sign this petition or contact your local US representative. This petition is from National Nurses United union, the largest union of registered nurses in the nation.

3. Make your own masks and donate to your local hospital. If you have some crafty skills, put them to good use and make some face masks. This website has a great tutorial about how to make masks. If you don't know how to sew there are plenty of ways to make a "no-sew" face mask as well. Here's a great article on how to make a no-sew mask from a reusable grocery bag.

If you have any other tips about how to help nurses and hospitals please share them!!

And.. if you are a nurse or healthcare worker.. thank you.