Happy National Nurses Appreciation Week!

This week has been set aside to give honor to one of the most unsung and underappreciated service professions, NURSING.  It has been a privilege to work with so many great and trusting caregivers in the world of nursing. It is one of the most varied of professions — one can have a certificate of completion in a practical nursing program and the possibility of degrees all the way through a PhD/DNP/EDD, and/or certification in a multitude of specialties. Nurses strive every day to make a positive impact on the health, wellness, care, and safety of individuals and families.

With the rise of technological advances in the healthcare realm, nurses can deliver a greater patient experience and contribute to better healthcare outcomes. This has pushed a new educational model (actually been going on for a while, but becoming more widespread) by those who are leading the charge to have a more balanced approach to healthcare. They are encouraging ways to have more interprofessional training so that the majority of health science professionals can have a better understanding and appreciation for each other’s training and expertise. 

The role of a nurse has been the same for a long time, although there may be various levels of autonomy. They have had to listen to patients, families, physicians, and anyone who had an opinion about patient care. Not all nurses are warm and cuddly. Some are straight-to-the-point and get the job done. A triage nurse doesn’t have time to be warm and cuddly. Nurses go forth, they wait, they listen, they hold, they touch, they console, they encourage, they cry, they laugh, they fight, they win, they lose, they don’t quit! 

I work with Nurse Educators, who believe, it is their number one job, to train and equip nurses to walk out of their schools and treat every patient with the same level of care, expertise, and professionalism. Higher Education and Nurse Education go hand-in-hand. All professionals need to be continuous learners. They never “Arrive!”  There is always something new to learn and some new human condition to be addressed.  Nursing students have continued to learn along the way. For some, learning came from personal experience. I have talked with nursing program leadership, across the country, who found some of their nursing students living in their cars or in shelters or on the streets.  They are seeking to better their own lives and eventually, better the lives of those they serve. 

Throughout today and this week, I encourage everyone to go out of your way to say thank you to a nurse. I also encourage Nurses to go out of your way to say thank you to the nurse educators that shared their lives, experience, and knowledge with you. Let us all remember that in one way or another if we offer support, kindness, and an open heart to someone in pain, our reaction may have been modeled for us by a nurse.  (Or maybe a Mother, but that is another day!)  NURSES, Thank you for all you do!