Why We Should Pay Respect to These True Heroes on May 12

May 12th is known as “国际护士节 (guó jì hù shì jié) International Nurses Day”, which is set up in memory of Florence Nightingale. In 2020, due to the Corona-outbreak, International Nurses Day impacts the public’s sentiments more strongly.
Now let’s learn some

Chinese words

that are relevant to this topic.
白衣天使 (Bái yī tiān shǐ): angels in white

白 (Bái): white
衣 (Yī): uniform
天使 (Tiānshǐ): angel

As “nurses  are always wearing white uniforms and their work is considered holy and lofty, they are called “angels in White”.
To every nurse, the pinning of the cap ceremony means a lot. In the ceremony, they put on the dovetail cap, take the candle from the predecessor, and make a solemn oath before the statue of Florence Nightingale.


Wǒ de mèngxiǎng shì chéngwéi yìmíng báiyītiānshǐ.
My dream is to become a white angel.

Tā hěn gǎnxiè jiùzhùguò tā de báiyītiānshǐ.
He is very grateful to the white angel who rescued him.

救援 (jiù yuán): v. rescue/ n. rescue operation, relief work

To people who are wounded and dying, it is the doctors and nurses who help them and bring the hope of life to them. So doctors and nurses “救援 (jiù yuán) rescue” patients.


Yīliáo tuánduì yī dǐdá jiù kāishǐle jiùyuán huódòng.
As soon as the medical team arrived, the rescue began.

Except for health care scenario, “救援 (jiù yuán) rescue” can also be used in disasters such as earthquake and air crash.


Jiùyuán rényuán yǐjīng qiánwǎng zāiqū.
Rescuers have already gone to the disaster area.

A commonly used structure is “救援 (jiù yuán) + something”, like “救援飞机 (jiù yuán fēi jī) rescue plane”, “救援艇 (jiù yuán tǐng) rescue boat” and “救援物资 (jiù yuán wù zī) relief supply”.


Jiù yuán wù zī cóng sì miàn bā fāng yùn wǎng zāi qū .
Rescue supplies were transported from all directions to the disaster area.

口罩脸 (Kǒuzhào liǎn): mask face

口罩 (Kǒuzhào): mask
脸 (Liǎn): face

Because of the situation of the epidemic, people have to wear masks to guarantee their health. However, wearing masks too long at any given time has some side effects, such as “口罩脸 (Kǒuzhào liǎn) mask face”. Almost every nurse who works on the front line has  “口罩脸 (Kǒuzhào liǎn) mask face”, which is impressions and abrasions from the outline of the mask, and those scars are their medals of honor.


Kǒuzhào liǎn shì yīhù rényuán de zuìměi yìnjì.
Mask face is the most beautiful mark of medical staff.

Kàng jī yì qíng liǎng gè yuè hòu ,tā yōng yǒu le yī zhāng kǒu zhào liǎn.
After fighting the epidemic for two months, she had a mask face.

So let’s set aside a moment on May 12th to reflect upon the people who ever so selflessly put their communities first and continue to do so in the face of this pandemic. Let’s commemorate Florence Nightengale, who this day was originally dedicated to for her own service and standards that modern nurses practice. We owe all of the nurses a great amount of gratitude, for they really are “白衣天使 (Báiyītiānshǐ): angels in white”.

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