It’s National Nursing Week across Canada.

This is a time to recognize those working on the front lines of our hospitals and long-term care homes in BC, especially during the pandemic.

BC Nurses Union President (BCNU), Christine Sorensen stated the landscape of nursing and health care has changed over time.

“We used to have a lot more nurses in the healthcare sector system and we also saw patients who stayed longer that were in care. What we see now are shorter stays in acute care, more acutely ill, more chronic illness including those with heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.”

“Healthcare really has changed in light of this pandemic and we do expect that in the weeks, months, and years as we move forward in this pandemic, healthcare will be significantly changed. There will be much more of a heavier burden on emotional caregiving.”

She adds residents are also requiring more care in the community and at long-term care facilities making a nurse’s job more complex than in years past.

Sorensen believes nurses are more important than ever due to COVID-19.

However, she mentioned there have been other times where nurses have been under-appreciated.

“Without a real understanding of how important the work that they do is in all sectors of healthcare whether it’s community or long-term care and I think this pandemic has shown how important nursing is in caring for our population.”

The mental health aspect of the job will be equally as important for nurses as they continue to deal with the pandemic on a daily basis.

“We are not immune to it, we are humans just like everyone else. We deal with the stresses of our personal lives and we also deal with the stresses of not being able to fix every single situation and help every single situation, the mounting number of people who have died from COVID-19 is particularly challenging,” added Sorensen.

The World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses declared 2020 The Year of the Nurse and Midwife.