My best friend is a nurse and let me tell you why that makes her a real-life superhero
This piece was originally published in 2017 but in light of the upcoming nurses' strike, we wanted to showcase the trojan work nurses and midwives do every single day and remind everyone how important it is to value them. On Wednesday 30 January, nurses and midwives across Ireland will strike protest over their current working conditions and there will be further strike days if things do not improve.
Work is a large part of who we are.
Of course, it varies but studies suggest that during the course of our lives we spend about 92,120 hours in work. If that's not a cause for a rant now and again I don't know what is. Today, I thought I'd take the time during my working day to write about someone who never moans about her work.
She was always a caregiver... when we were little, she'd hide plain biscuits in her pocket and give them to me as we pottered around the corner to primary school. She'd zip up my jacket and tie my laces, unbeknownst to the both of us, she was actually six months younger than me.
It made perfect sense when she decided to study nursing. So, sticking to our pact of never leaving each other's side we headed off to the same university in Dublin, giddy with the thought of our prospective careers.
I spent my days sleeping on couches and turning in journalism assignments late. She, on the other hand, had to swipe into class every single day, work in a hospital on placement, administer medication and all BEFORE she was fully qualified (I was doing shots in the student bar).
Nurses are overworked and under-supported... we all know this. We've read the facts, we know how many hours they work and how tired they are. When we lived together, the superhero would return home from a 13-hour shift, with swollen feet and in a zombie like trance.
Chat would come though... once every few months, it needed too. If I was there, I'd just let her talk, it was never a rant about the lack of resources, or sh*t money, or how nobody understands, she'd talk about the people.
Stories would fall from my friend's mouth and my heart would break. She tells me of a man who is terminal, he has a young wife and kids, she speaks of the woman who thought she was in remission, an old man with no insurance and no family left. Sometimes she cries... sometimes she doesn't and then she stops.
The decks are clear, she'll have a glass of red wine and set her alarm for 6.15am.
We call her whenever we fall over, if we ever find a lump or if we get scared when our parents are sick. She's visited our grandparents when they've been dying... she's hugged us and told us it's OK, even though she knows it isn't. That's her job.
If you know a nurse, message them today. It doesn't have to be emotional, it doesn't even have to be long, it just has to be three words... we appreciate you and on the 30 January, do what you can to help support the nurses and midwives that are left with no choice but to strike.
To my personal superhero; I don't know how you do it, but I'm so glad that you do.