Nurses are everywhere. If you shake your family tree, one will probably fall out. It seems everyone has a parent, sibling, spouse, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, in-law that is a nurse (please notice I did not include only women as nurses—many men have entered the profession and we are happy about that). There are over 4 million of them in the US and 15+ million in the world. It seems appropriate then that we celebrate the contributions nurses make to our personal as well as our community’s well being by dedicating a whole week to honor them.
This year, May 6 – 12 has been designated as National Nurses’ Week. Nurse Week always includes May 12 because that is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. As some of you know, Ms. Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing. She was truly an extraordinary person—educator, researcher, hospital administrator, author, public health pioneer, as well as someone who provided care to soldiers wounded in battle, women forced into poverty, and individuals suffering from cholera. But, I digress.
For the past several years, nursing has been identified as the most trusted profession. The exception occurred in 2001 when firefighters edged us out. We held the number one ranking yet again in 2013.
If you have ever been in a hospital, you know that nurses are the ones who are there 24/7. If you go to an emergency room, the person who asks you about your problem is a nurse. But, nurses are in a lot more places than hospitals these days. You will find them in home care, hospices, surgical centers, clinics, birthing centers, public health clinics, and just about anywhere someone needs care.
So, when you shake your family tree and a nurse falls out—or even if you just know someone who is a nurse–please remember to give him or her a great big hug and say “thank you” for all the great things nurses do to keep us healthy and, when that fails, help us get well.