Their hands most likely delivered you and your own children into the world. They play a critical role in health promotion and disease prevention. They are the ears, eyes and hands of entire medical teams, and often the vital communication link with a patient's family and friends. These are the highly-skilled health professionals who coordinate and deliver care with compassion at any stage of life — and often when we are at our most vulnerable.
Today's nurses continue to reflect much of what was taught by Florence Nightingale, who is known internationally as the founder of modern nursing. And so, every year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence's birthday, we celebrate International Nurses Day: honouring the contribution that nurses make to the health and wellbeing of individuals and to our global healthcare system.1
"Nurses are part of their local community — sharing its culture, strengths and vulnerabilities." — World Health Organization
This year, the International Council of Nurses has declared ‘Nurses a voice to lead — Health is a Human Right’ as the theme of International Nurses Day. No matter the location and no matter the setting, healthcare should be accessible to all. At Fresenius Medical Care, nurses care for more than 45,000 patients across 380 Fresenius Kidney Care dialysis clinics and through Home Therapies programs in the Asia-Pacific region.
"With over 1.46 million people in the region estimated to be living with end stage renal disease1 and requiring life-saving dialysis, reaching greater numbers of patients who are widely geographically spread has never been more important", said Harry de Wit, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care Asia-Pacific. "Our Fresenius Kidney Care dialysis clinics are located in city, regional and remote areas, enabling access for more patients. Through our Home Therapies programs, nurses travel across the country, visiting patients at home, monitoring their condition and helping them adhere to their treatment plan".
“It's like a social club because we know everybody and we have a lovely conversation with all the other patients, everyone welcomes you and the staff are beautiful. It makes all the difference in the world if you are happy.” — Fresenius Kidney Care patient
As a large employer of nurses in Asia Pacific, Fresenius Medical Care's nurses make up 70 per cent of the workforce: "Nurses may spend many hours a week with their patients, often over many years, and become part of their extended family", said Samantha Tan, Director of Nursing. "Patients form strong emotional bonds with nurses, which encourages feelings of wellbeing and helps patients to stick more closely with their treatment plan."
"Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses ... we must be learning all of our lives." — Florence Nightingale
Recognising the critical role of nurses in delivering high quality healthcare, Fresenius Medical Care invests in its nurses, providing continuous training and career development opportunities. Nurses are also encouraged to actively participate in the organisation's Asia-Pacific wide international accreditation program. In the process, they develop new skills, have a higher level of satisfaction and personal wellbeing, and have opportunities to grow into leadership positions — where nurses can ultimately have an even stronger voice in decision-making.
1 Fresenius Medical Care 2016, ESRD Patients – Asia Pacific and The World.