Bees and nurses have two distinct similarities in their roles and benefits to society. These shared qualities are so vital that without them, our existence and the very planet we live on would be vastly different.
For thousands of years both bees and nurses have been integral parts of human civilization. The bee has pollinated our food crops, provided us with a nutrient-rich food source in their honey and supplied us with wax that can be made into a long list of useful products.
Nurses have cared for us in every stage of life, from our first breath to our last. They’ve helped heal us from injury and disease while providing invaluable emotional support to both patient and family members.
In fact, the word nurse, when used as a verb, means to care for and to attempt to cure by care and treatment.
Bees and nurses make up the very fabric our social structure and life itself. Stated simply:
Without bees, we don’t eat. Without nurses, we don’t have healthcare.
And sadly, today both face serious threats to their existence.
Bees literally work themselves to death. Throughout their life cycle, first as nurse bees nurturing the young and attending the queen then as indefatigable workers, bees never cease their service to the hive.
Their tireless work, day in and day out, not only provides sustenance, maintenance and protection of their hive, it also plays an essential support role in the ecosystem and human food production.
Here are some facts about the indispensable role bees play in nature and our society:
- Bees pollinate 1/6 of the earth’s flowering plants helping to provide habitats for animals, birds and insects
- Bees pollinate approximately 75 percent of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S. (about one out of every four bites of food)
- Bees pollinate 70 of the 100 food crops that feed 90 percent of the world
- Our supermarkets would have about half the amount of fruits, nuts and vegetables without bees
- A majority of the planet’s animals and plants would disappear without bees
In addition to their crucial role in pollination, humans have been using bee stings to treat a variety of conditions for thousands of years.
Today, new medical therapies using bee venom, or apitherapy, are being studied in a wide range of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), MS (multiple sclerosis) and more.
To say that the humble bee plays a crucial role in the ecosystem, modern food supply and medical research would be an understatement.
The same can be said of nursing’s role in modern health care.
Nursing in the 21st century is a far cry from its beginnings in convents and church-run hospitals serving as basic caregivers. Today’s nurses are trained in the latest medical techniques and therapies.
Armed with specialized skill sets and training, nurses from Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) to Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) make up the backbone of our modern medical system. They are on the front lines of medical care spending the most time with patients, monitoring their progress, evaluating treatment, providing emotional support and acting as the patient’s greatest advocate.
Like the bee, nurses work tirelessly bringing health, brightness and hope serving their patients and community as a whole. Without them, our medical system would cease to function and quality of life would deteriorate.
As the bee is essential to our ecosystem, so is the nurse for our medical care.
Threats To Bee Colonies And Nursing
Today, both bees’ and nursing’s numbers are in decline, threatening to undermine these two key societal supports.
In the year from 2018 to 2019, there was a decrease of approximately 40.7 percent in the bee population according to a report from the Bee Informed Partnership, a nonprofit associated with the University of Maryland.
Not only does this threaten the $20 billion in annual food crops in the U.S., which could raise food prices, it’s also unsustainable over the long term.
The main culprits are the varroa mite, which can devastate a bee colony, loss of habitat and human mismanagement. Many of these stresses are manmade and work is currently being done to remove them such as research on the varroa mite, bee-friendly pesticides and better habitat management.
In nursing, there is a roughly 25 percent gap in the supply of Registered Nurses as Baby Boomers age and the demand for healthcare grows.
The statistics and numbers provide stark warnings:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for more than 200,000 new RNs every year through 2026 to fill new positions and to replace retiring nurses.
- In the July 2017 Journal of Nursing Regulation, Dr. Peter Buerhaus and colleagues examine the “Four Challenges Facing the Nursing Workforce in the United States,” estimating one million RNs will retire by 2030 and that “the departure of such a large cohort of experienced RNs means that patient care settings and other organizations that depend on RNs will face a significant loss of nursing knowledge and expertise that will be felt for years to come.”
- According to the “United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast” a shortage of registered nurses is projected to spread across the country between 2009 and 2030.
This shortage could have serious negative impacts on the quality of healthcare in the U.S.
Protecting Our Vital Resources
Just as we need to protect the bees to preserve the earth’s ecosystem and our food supply, so must we support nurses and the vital role they play in healthcare.
At NurseHive our mission is to protect and support the Nursing Community and the vital role it plays in the health and well-being of our society.
NurseHive is committed to encouraging the growth and empowerment of the Nursing Community through community inspiration and communication, licensure preparation, job placement acceleration, specialty certifications and continuing education, as well as on-going career guidance and support.
Without their work ethic, dedication, support and the hope they bring to the medical community, not only does healthcare suffer but so does our society.