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International Nurses Day 2023: Fernando Augusto Dias e Sanches

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Fernando is a nurse in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and a member of The Union’s TB Nurses and Allied Professionals Scientific Sub-Section.

To celebrate International Nurses Day, we find out more about Fernando, his role at The Union and passion for caring for others.

Fernando Sanches

Where do you work as a nurse?

I currently work at the Tuberculosis Research Center at Thorax Diseases Instituto, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Infection and Prevention and Control Department at Piquet Carneiro Polyclinic, State University of Rio de Janeiro.

Do you have a nursing specialty?

I have a specialty in Public Health and Occupational Health in Nursing.

How long have you been a Union member and why did you join?

I have been a member since 2017. I joined The Union for several reasons:

a) Since I began working in TB, I have heard about “The Union”.

b) A huge number of delegates participate in the Union World Conference on Lung Health from around the world, which enables the sharing of diversity experiences, ideas, and research outcomes regarding TB and other lung diseases.

c) It is a space for nurses to gather and debate TB from the perspectives and lens of nurses. 

What is your role in the sub-section?

I am the Conference Programme Lead for the TB Nurses and Allied Professionals Scientific Sub-Section.

My role is to encourage a sense of belonging by looking for strategies and opportunities to bring people together in an environment for sharing experiences, challenges and successes.

How do we do this? There is no specific recipe; this is about identifying needs and possibilities. Nurses have the potential to be creative, so I try to promote this space to give them voices.

My role as Conference Programme Lead also means I represent the group on the Coordinating Committee of Scientific Activities, with coordinates the scientific programme of the Union Conference.

I also plan virtual meetings every month that support the nurses from across the Union membership to discuss and exchange experiences – from nurses to nurses.

What is the sub-section currently working on?

We are working on establishing new strategies and plans for connecting nurses inside The Union and inviting others to join us to help build their and our knowledge.

We also hope to host an International Nurses Day webinar. The proposed theme is ‘Nurses' strategies to eliminate TB – Experiences from the field’. As soon as we confirm the date, we will promote the webinar.

Why did you become a nurse?

Becoming a nurse is not only you finishing college or graduating in nursing; it is beyond that. It is associated with a sense of being part of you, maybe an unconsciousness for understanding people, dedicated hearing, creating empathy, and putting yourself forward to help those needing care.

The great thing about becoming a nurse is that you learn evidence-based strategies, which complex science, to make a difference to people’s lives. For me, it is about planning, organising, and prioritising, while managing layers over layers of complexity that are in constant movement. You must also balance community needs and expectations from healthcare workers. Nurses often act as facilitators between other professionals. Nursing also requires an understanding of social and cultural factors.

This diversity of knowledge and how to manage it is what attracted me to become a nurse.

Nurses have the ability to translate how the human body works to their patients and guide them through care plans. We are always by our patient’s side.

This year’s International Nurses Day theme is ‘Our Nurses. Our Future.’ which sets out what nurses want for nursing in the future in order to address the global health challenges and improve global health for all. We need to learn from the lessons of the pandemic and translate these into actions of the future. What does this mean to you, what needs to change and what are the key lessons we need to learn?

Thank you for this question. This short sentence is about the preservation of the population. The nurse is essential to the functioning of health systems, independent of which level we are talking about. It represents the biggest slice.

Unfortunately, we have seen a catastrophic situation for many healthcare workers who were dedicated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the most affected were nurses. Hundreds and even thousands of nurses have died, and thousands of others were left with disabilities.

Considering the phenomenon of ageism, the population is getting older, and it's associated directly with the professionals who will care for them. Yes, we need to preserve our nurses because we will need to be prepared. Beneath this prism, and it is more and more necessary to talk about a bundle of measures to promote the maintenance of nurses' formation and strategies to retain them in the health system.

We need policies and action to make sure we have the right number of nurses for the right number of patients. To do this we must help leaders and communities to understand the importance of nurses to the health system.

What would you say to people thinking about becoming nurses?

I would say to those people, if you think you can delivery care to other, can consider social and cultural determinants, can make connections with individuals and communities and can provide the attention needed to heal, treat, cure or even a relief others, we need you by our side. The world is looking for more and more people willing to make a different – associating conventional knowledge with other abilities.

It is very satisfying as a nurse to see what we can really transform. Let´s make science, care plans, empathetic processes, learn from patient experience and make connections. The future is just a second forward!