Dear soul nurses,
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
Throughout history human life and healthcare associated professions have always been respected and important in all societies.
If we look back at the history of nursing, we can see that it has been a well-regarded profession since medieval times. However, we also know that the conditions and circumstances in which they worked back then were entirely different. It was considered a passion, not a job, an act of mercy. Usually for free. The only ‘reward’ sisters of mercy got back then was that they had decent life after retirement. Back then, in medieval times and even later, I would say until about 19th century, few had that kind of arrangement.
Nowadays, we do not have that kind of public recognition framework for nurses. It is a paid job, just like any other job. But it comes with a lot more responsibility and duties than it was back in the day.
We have come together here today to honour, pay tribute and show our respect to soul nurses. This event pursues two goals. First, it is an opportunity for patients, in this case children and their parents, to express and show their appreciation to their nurses. Secondly, it highlights the special role played by nurses in our society.
We all know that there are deep problems in healthcare sector, and you, nurses, of course know it first-hand. Probably, and I agree with such view, nurses are dealing with the worst problems in all healthcare system. Problems that have not been solved. There is an acute shortage of nurses across Latvia. Not only you, all people of Latvia and I expect smart and efficient proposals on how to improve healthcare from responsible authorities.
There should be three kinds of improvements. Making sure nurses are better paid is one. It is absolutely clear that salary reform is necessary, no discussion there. Better hospital governance is another. We need more efficient hospitals with clear salary structures. And, thirdly, we need better hospital network to make sure that patients have equal and efficient access to healthcare services across Latvia. No matter where patients live or what kind of concerns they have, they should have access to adequate healthcare services. Services should be available either near patient or within their reach if patient needs to be tested using technologies that are operated constantly, not only when a patient is referred. Essentially there are three reform targets: better pay for nurses (we should also mention doctors and other health care professionals here, as well, as they are underpaid too), better governance at the hospital level and better hospital network that provides patients accessible and good quality health care across Latvia.
All professionals across different branches of health care system, including doctors and nurses, need to treat each other with respect and show professional courtesy to each other in daily work and during the reform. The same applies to relationship between health care professionals and patients, whereas patients need to respect and treat nurses, doctors and everyone who take care of them with dignity.
We are here to praise the special nurses picked by children and their parents, and I am sure that all of us, including nurses, doctors, officials, management and the whole society (because all of us have either been or one day will become patients), are keen to build a good and efficient health care system not only in medical sense but also in terms of staff attitude and warmth. And nurses have major role in that. Thank you!