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'Nurses have restored our faith in humanity': health workers pick up European prize

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Martina Papponetti, 25, a nurse at the Humanitas Gavazzeni Hospital in Bergamo, Italy, poses for a portrait at the end of her shift on the front lines of the pandemic
Martina Papponetti, 25, a nurse at the Humanitas Gavazzeni Hospital in Bergamo, Italy, poses for a portrait at the end of her shift on the front lines of the pandemic   -   Copyright  Antonio Calanni/AP
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The European Federation of Nurses Associations this week received a prize at the Women of Europe awards, recognising the efforts of nurses from all over the continent.

“They have been beyond heroic and selfless and committed to delivering healthcare to every citizen across Europe who needed their help,” said Elizabeth Adams, President of the EFN. “With their compassion, care and expertise, nurses have restored our faith in humanity.”

Speaking at the event, which was organised by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby, the president of the EFN said this award would give a major boost in morale to the millions of nurses around Europe on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus.

The awards are "about recognising the hugely difficult circumstances that women have had to face and also the immense sacrifices women have made to provide support and to be there for others during this difficult time,” said director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland Orla O' Connor.

One woman who witnessed the impact of the virus on local communities was Belgian nurse Verlee Eygenraam.

By providing food and bicycles to families in need around Brussels, she said her team of nurses from the Flemish child and family support network, Kind en Gezin, provided comfort and companionship to struggling families, especially mothers, throughout the year.

“Our nurses and social workers tried to meet these needs, because they were always there to listen to the families, Eygenraam told Euronews, adding "it was really sad to see but our nurses could really make the difference".

The efforts of these workers and those across the continent have made the difference that brought smiles to people’s faces this year in spite of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.