The youngest recipient of the Nightingale Medal in China
2023-05-29 by Sichuan International Communication Center
On the afternoon of May 12th, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced the list of winners for the 49th Florence Nightingale Medal in 2023. A total of 37 nursing personnel from 22 countries were honored, including 7 from China. Among them was Jiang Yan, a 46-year-old nurse, who became the youngest recipient of the Nightingale Medal in China.
The Nightingale Medal is awarded to nursing professionals who have displayed exceptional courage, devotion, and pioneering spirit in providing care to the sick, injured, disabled, or those affected by war, disaster, or public health crises. It recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of nursing or nursing education and have demonstrated outstanding humanitarian efforts.
Jiang Yan's decision to become a nurse was partly influenced by her childhood experiences. As a child, she often fell ill. Unlike other children,she did not resistinjections ormedication. "I knew that taking medication and receiving injections would alleviate the symptoms, so I always took care of myself."
In 1992, Jiang, who was studying at a vocational school, realized that "the nursing profession was developing, and by acquiring more knowledge, I could help more patients."
Driven by determination, she was admitted intothe affiliated hospital of Luzhou Medical College (now Southwest Medical University) in 1995. In September 2000, she was admitted to Sichuan University's West China Medical Center to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing.
In September 2002, Jiang Yan was admitted to Peking Union Medical College. In 2014, she conducted a one-year academic visit at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in the United States, and in 2015, she obtained a Ph.D. in nursing from West China Nursing School, Sichuan University.
In August 2020, Jiang was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, becoming the first nursing expert in the southwestern region of China to receive this honor.
In 2009, Jiang Yan was transferred to West China Hospital as the head nurse of the neurology comprehensive ward.
She often advises nurses to "treat patients as if they were family." In her view, being a highly skilled nursing professional is not enough. "We hope to be the most trustworthy professional care team for patients. Nursing should be a perfect combination of professionalism and humanity."
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. In mid-April, Jiang Yan volunteered to becomeone of the 12 members of the first Chinese government medical team to assist in epidemic prevention and control in Africa, specifically in Ethiopia and Djibouti. The former has an average altitude of over 3,000 meters, while the latter is arid with little rainfall and daytime temperatures reaching up to 46 degrees Celsius. Both countries face severe shortages of water facilities and resources and have almost no mask manufacturing enterprises.
Jiangadaptedto the local conditionsand encouraged local medical personnel to make use of available resources such as transparent plastic bags to create protective equipment. She also mobilized local enterprises to produce protective materials and provided detailed explanations on personal protective measures to medical staff in over 170 medical institutions in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and neighboring countries.
Before leaving Ethiopia and Djibouti, she wrote a postcardand sent it back to Chengdu.On the postcard she wrote "professionalism, dedication, and excellence are the universal language worldwide."
To propel nursing in Sichuan to the forefront of the world, Jiang plans to explore precise nursing services, such as wound care techniques and enteral nutrition care techniques, and promote more innovative nursing models. She aims to unleash the subjective initiative of nursing professionals, allowing more people to see the versatility and professionalism of nurses from Sichuan and China, and prove that nurses are not limited to administering injections and infusions.
"In the future, I will maximize efforts to promote the development of the nursing profession and contribute more to patients," said Jiang.