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DEPARTMENTS: EDITORIAL

May Hope Bloom and Grow

Ayello, Elizabeth A. PhD, MS, BSN, RN, CWON, ETN, MAPWCA, FAAN; Sibbald, R. Gary MD, DSc (Hons), MEd, BSc, FRCPC (Med Derm), FAAD, MAPWCA, JM

Advances in Skin & Wound Care: May 2021 - Volume 34 - Issue 5 - p 231
doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000742300.86108.df
  • Free

Depending on which part of the world you live in, after a dark winter, May signals the emergence of warmer weather, the birth of wildlife, and the blooming of flowers. In the Southern Hemisphere, the month of May signals the end of warm weather with the promise of cooler temperatures to provide relief. For still others, it marks the beginning of increasingly hot weather. As with so much, our judgments about May change based on our perspective. Our journal is an international journal—and in this issue (print and online) you will find articles from six different countries (Australia, Egypt, India, Korea, Spain, and the US) that address different aspects of skin care and wound healing. The diversity of these international viewpoints can enrich our toolkit for effective practice.

In the past year, the world has been dominated and challenged by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Despite each country’s implementation of strategies to lessen hospitalizations and deaths, the World Health Organization reports that as of March 24, 2021, there have been 123,902,242 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,727,837 (2.2%) deaths.1 The highest numbers of confirmed deaths are in the Americas, followed by Europe, Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, and the Western Pacific.1 As your Editors-in-Chief, we are saddened by these global impacts and pray for those we have lost, even as we try to comprehend the rates for our own countries—29,592,831 cases with 538,244 deaths (1.8%) in the US and 938,719 cases with 22,716 deaths (2.4%) in Canada.2 Although some countries have had national ceremonies to acknowledge and mourn the people lost, and the American Nurses Association recently observed a Day of Remembrance on March 11 for the more than 500 US nurses who have died, as of March 2021, there is no national or international COVID-19 Remembrance Day.

Nurses are one of the largest groups of healthcare workers worldwide. For nurses, the month of May usually signals a time to celebrate. In some countries, May 6 to 12 is Nurses Week, and May 12, International Nurses Day. The latter date was selected because it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who fought her own battles against infections and high mortality among British soldiers during the Crimean War. This year’s International Nurses Day sub-theme is “a vision for future healthcare.”3

Any vision for the future must account for the staggering effects of COVID-19 on nurses. As of December 31, 2020:4

  • 1.6 million healthcare workers in 34 countries have been infected with COVID-19, accounting for approximately 10% of all COVID-19 infections.
  • It is estimated that 2,262 nurses in 59 countries have died of COVID-19.
  • As nurses have battled COVID-19, they have reported shortages and a lack of personal protective equipment.
  • The increased working hours, burnout, depression, and mental health distress including isolation from and fear of infecting family members have led to some nurses resigning from their jobs
  • Individual responses to COVID-19 are complex and multifactorial, with the potential long-term impacts including posttraumatic stress disorder

However, we are optimistic that the lasting effects of COVID-19 will be transformational and well-managed for healthcare workers and systems. Working together, healthcare professionals can build a better future.

The WHO has reported that over 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered,1 and we are likely to reach herd immunity and slow the global spread. The stage is set for the skin and wound care world to meet in Abu Dhabi, March 1 to 5, 2022, for the World Union of Wound Healing Societies. The call for abstracts is now open at www.wuwhs.org until the end of July 2021. We hope to see you there in person!

Elizabeth A. Ayello, PhD, MS, BSN, RN, CWON, ETN, MAPWCA, FAAN

R. Gary Sibbald, MD, DSc (Hons), MEd, BSc, FRCPC (Med Derm), FAAD, MAPWCA, JM

REFERENCES

1. World Health Organization. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. https://covid19.who.int. Last accessed March 15, 2021.
2. World Health Organization. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. Data table: situation by country, territory & area. https://covid19.who.int. Last accessed March 15, 2021.
3. International Council of Nurses. International Council of Nurses announces International Nurses Day theme for 2021. October 2020. www.icn.ch/news/international-council-nurses-announces-international-nurses-day-theme-2021. Last accessed March 15, 2021.
4. International Council of Nurses. International Council of Nurses COVID-19 update. Mass trauma experienced by the global nursing workforce. January 2021. https://www.icn.ch/sites/default/files/inline-files/ICN%20COVID19%20update%20report%20FINAL.pdf. Last accessed March 15, 2021.
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