What Nurses Do in the Midst of Terror
November 20, 2015
With the attacks in Russia, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and France, and continuing conflict in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, we are focusing on the victims and the terrorists, but behind the scenes are hundreds of nurses who are caring for the injured as they worry about their own families. When Florence Nightingale went to the Turkey during the Crimean War, there was no confusion about who was being cared for. Her patients were British soldiers in British army hospitals.
Today, the challenge for nurses to care for patients beyond the conflict, as human beings without bias, is in the forefront. To bring reality to this these horrific events and understand what nurses do in the midst of terror, here’s a post I wrote in July 2014.
The current violence and death in the Middle East is tragic beyond words.
For the past four years, my husband Dallas Smith and I have gone to Jordan and Israel, working with nurses from Israel, East Jerusalem, and the territories.
As sponsors of the Middle Eastern Nurses Uniting in Human Caring conference, as well as participants and speakers, we have come to respect and appreciate the critical and significant role nurses play in facilitating peace in this troubled region.
At the bedside of wounded patients from all parts of the Middle East, nurses birth new hope and beliefs that can transcend the great divides that exist.
From an Israeli nurse in Jerusalem this week:
Nurses care — no matter where we are on political standpoints — in the occupied territories, east Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv.
We are all being bombed and we all send text and internet messages to each other begging for assurance that we and our families are alright.
We send packages to our fighting soldiers.
We wait with our hearts in our throats ready to cry when we hear the helicopters arriving at our ER – spilling out wounded soldiers into our hospitals.
And we receive offers to provide assistance from our Palestinian colleagues to help us if our load becomes too heavy.
We worry about the Israeli army pounding on their doors at odd hours of the night and day in order to search their homes for hiding terrorists. We feel bad for them, we feel guilty.
They feel bad for us.
From speaking with nurses who are in Jerusalem, Gaza, and East Jerusalem caring for wounded soldiers, families, children, they know no distinction between a wounded soldier from Gaza or from Tel Aviv; a wounded child from Syria; or a wounded child from Jerusalem.
They care for their patients equally.
Every nurse I know is a nurse at his or her core. It is how they get up on the morning; how they interact with everyone they meet; how they make decisions; how they care for those they know and those they just meet.
Being a nurse is a worldview and a mission.
In the bloodiest of conflicts, the nurse is the healer, the hope, and the future caring for the humanity that lives at the heart and soul of each patient.
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