Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Council of Nurses had chosen their 2020 theme “Nursing the World to Health,” acknowledging nurses’ true value to the world. “Given the COVID-19 crisis we are coping with,” says Susan Lafer, chair of the Hadassah USA National Nurses & Allied Health Professionals Council, “the theme is quite prophetic.”

As a retired registered nurse, Lafer says, “I know the challenges nurses face, and I appreciate their selflessness during this perilous time.” Lafer penned the following tribute to nurses the world over:

Part of nursing’s proud tradition is that nurses have always answered the call to service in extremely dangerous circumstances. Watching the nightly news and seeing people emerge from their homes at 7:00 pm every evening to bang pots and pans, and to sing and cheer words of encouragement and thanks, brings tears to my eyes. I’m sure that with your dedication and selfless service to the greater community, you will help us all through this difficult time.

You are there to coach a new mom through the delivery of her first child, to reassure an anxious child going into surgery, to calm a frightened patient in the emergency room, to guide a patient coping with a life-changing illness, to counsel a patient suffering with mental illness, and, ultimately, to help relieve suffering at the end of life. In all these situations and more, you work with your hands and feet, but it is your hearts and minds that lift your care from ordinary to extraordinary.

I am glad that nurses today are earning long-overdue new respect, not only as caregivers but also as educators, researchers, innovators, and leaders.

Thank you to all the workers on the front lines for keeping our hospitals running. It is truly an act of selflessness to meet the world’s problems head on and to keep everyone safe. Your bravery does not go unnoticed! Today, the world celebrates you, your service, and your labors of love. You are outstanding human beings.

And thank you, dedicated, hard-working nurses around the world for always keeping your patients as your top priority. Every day you make the world a better place. The Hadassah USA National Nurses & Allied Health Professionals Council is proud to celebrate you.