Any day is a good day to celebrate America’s nurses. After all, every day patients enter medical offices and facilities and spend more time with nurses than any other health-care provider.
But since 1993, the American Nurses Association has set aside a week to celebrate and elevate the nursing profession. This year, National Nurses Week is set for May 6-12 and features a host of events to honor the 4 million nurses across the country for the work they do.
A special day set aside to honor nurses began in 1965 with Nurse’s Day, with the intent of raising public awareness of the important role and contributions nurses make to society, according to Nurse.com.
An unofficial Nurses Week stretches back a decade earlier in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea.
Then, as now, nurses are on the front lines of a caring profession. On-duty around the clock 24/7, nurses are the caregivers we most rely on in almost any health-care environment.
“One of my favorite sayings about nursing is our ordinary is actually extraordinary,” said Jennifer Mensik, a nurse who wrote about how she celebrates her calling in an article on Nurse.com. “We provide an amazing service to the public, whether in hospitals, clinics, long-term care or in the community.
“Being a nurse is not something we turn off completely at any time. It doesn’t stop at the end of our shift like many other professions. We are there to help at a moment’s notice because we care. That perspective of caring is always with us, and we believe we are doing what any other person might do in the same situation — that it was our job.”
Unfortunately, there’s a nursing shortage. According to a report in the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of registered nurses is projected to spread across the nation through 2030, with the South and West being most affected.
On the upside, registered nursing is listed among the top occupations for growth opportunity into the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In other words, there’s never been a better time to enter this challenging and rewarding career field.
Nurses are truly the unsung heroes of the health-care profession. They are dedicated to healing, compassionate care and touch the lives of millions with their devotion and skills.
So if you encounter a special event in your community during National Nurses Week, don’t hesitate to attend and thank them.