I am giving you plenty of notice for this one because it is important. International Nurses Day is observed everywhere around the world on May 12. It is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, a fairly amazing woman herself and the founder of modern nursing. She became a strong advocate for the professional recognition of nurses and their training. Through her example and legacy, International Nurses Day has become a beacon for acknowledging and respecting the commitment of nurses everywhere—normally on the frontline of any emergency.
It’s time to Make/Play/Read/Write some respect for nurses and all they do. Thank you!!
Make: DIY Cloth Face Mask With Pleats
The absolute best way we can honor nurses is to not give them a reason to take care of us. Accidents happen, and if you need to see a nurse, don’t delay. However, we have to admit there are plenty of preventative measures we can take to avoid unnecessary visits. In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one of the easiest things we can do is wear a mask.
GeekDad Paul has already shared a great article about masks and COVID-19. If you are interested in making your own, there are plenty of DIY sewing patterns still available on the internet. For those of us who can’t sew, there is a really simple method approved by the CDC and will definitely help you out. Here’s the video, thanks to Japanese Creations (I have summarized the instructions afterward):
You will need:
- A square of cotton material, large enough to fold several times and still cover your nose and mouth. The material should be tightly knit but still breathable (like t-shirt material or a scarf).
- Two rubber bands or hair elastics (not the tiny braid elastics that cut off circulation to your fingers).
- Lay the square of material flat in front of you. Fold the top edge to the middle and the bottom edge to the middle.
- Carefully flip the material over and repeat the folds.
- Carefully flip the material again.
- Place the elastics around the ends of the folded material, leaving a space between the elastics to fit over your face.
- Fold the ends of the material towards the middle, with the fold at the point where the elastic sits. I have seen some videos tuck the ends of the material into itself, though that is your choice.
- Loop the elastics over your ears and secure the mask over your face.
Play: Pandemic (Z-Man)
We have talked about Pandemic a few times. It is a really good game to play on the best of days. It has also gained a boost in popularity due to… well, the pandemic. It is a fairly accurate game to play, making my top five tabletop games to play during a pandemic.
Pandemic is a cooperative tabletop game played with 2-4 players. As a team, you need to treat and cure diseases before they become a pandemic and cover the entire world. Each of you takes one of the seven available roles: dispatcher, scientist, researcher, operations expert, contingency planner, quarantine specialist, and medic (which would include our favorite nurse). You are playing against the game itself, drawing a card for the “game” and spreading the infections further afield. It really puts into perspective how quickly a disease can spread when not treated. Oh, and by the way, you will WANT a medic/nurse on your team. Trust me on this.
Watch: Scrubs—Carla Espinosa, RN (Hulu)
I have never worked in a hospital, however, I have had a fair share of visits. I can’t say whether Scrubs is an accurate reflection of hospital staff, BUT I once met a nurse who was almost exactly like Carla Espinosa from Scrubs. She was amazing. She was caring yet tough. She was observant and quick-thinking, yet humble when praised for her hard work. My nurse’s name was Maggie, but when I said how she reminded me of Carla, Maggie demanded I call her Carla for the rest of her shift. And I had absolutely no problem with that.
If you haven’t seen Scrubs, it is an American medical comedy/drama series, originally aired from 2001 to 2010 on NBC (later on ABC). The show followed the lives of various employees at the fictional teaching hospital called Sacred Heart Hospital. The main protagonist is John “J.D.” Dorian, played by Zach Braff. Most of the stories also feature his best friend (Turk), his competition/girlfriend/friend Elliot, and the head nurse, Carla. The show itself is mostly hilarious, but there’s a fair splattering of drama along the way. If it is a true reflection of a hospital anywhere in the world, then it reaffirms the magnificence of our nursing staff.
Read: The Night Nurse (Marvel)
Before Rosario Dawson saved our Defenders in the Netflix/Marvel series, the original Night Nurse was found in comic books. The 4-issue series was published in the early 1970s and featured three central characters: Linda Carter, Georgia Jenkins, and Christine Palmer. It was a blatant attempt to capture the “girl market,” which in itself is pretty nauseating but very indicative of the times. At least they had a female writer, who gave it a bit more realism.
For a good round-up on the series, check out GeekMom Shiri’s Get to Know a Hero: Night Nurse. And for the record, Shiri is also a trained registered nurse.
Night Nurse was not like other Marvel comics at the time. There were no superheroes or magical villains. Instead, all three nurses are roommates who work the night shift at the fictional Metropolitan General Hospital in New York. The stories are all drive by drama but very human-like drama. Incompetent surgeons, bomb plots, mob hitmen, everyday New York stuff (apparently).
Unfortunately, the series was canceled due to poor sales but experienced a resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s. Brian Michael Bendis re-introduced Carter in Daredevil vol. 2 #58 (May 2004) as a “night nurse… sympathetic to… costumed persons”. Palmer showed up in Nightcrawler vol. 3 #1 (Sept 2004), thanks to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. It’s a shame we haven’t seen more of Jenkins and her strong sense of social justice balanced with compassionate nursing experience.
Nurses are often underestimated in what they do, what they know, and what they put up with. The entire world has had a wake-up call over the last year, seeing the real superheroes of our community: nurses. They continue to help, to care, to support us when we are vulnerable. I personally am so grateful for so many nurses I have met over the years. One day isn’t enough to say thanks but I am sure they appreciate the consideration.
Happy International Nurses Day.