‘Nurses made the difference’ in our healthcare communities

Published 1:17 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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This year’s Nurses Week theme is “Nurses Make the Difference” to encourage nurses, health care professionals, employers, community leaders and the public to recognize and promote the vast contributions and positive impact of nurses worldwide. Nurses Week is being celebrated nationwide May 6-12.

Nurses contribute to health in multifaceted ways – as educators, activists, innovators, and caregivers – the list could go on and on. Aside from a parent, family member, or caregiver, there’s nothing more reassuring during an injury or illness than a nurse by your side. After all, it’s rare to get through your whole life without needing a nurse. They are everywhere. Whether in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, hospice facilities, or private homes – nurses are the backbone of health care.

Nurses are essential workers who play a fundamental role in providing indispensable care and services to patients and their families. They work tirelessly to ensure their patients receive the best possible treatment, often going above and beyond to meet someone’s needs.

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According to the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing, and her birthday is an appropriate date to acknowledge and celebrate nurses. While many nurses are referred to as “Florence Nightingale,” Nightingale had a nickname of her own: “The Lady with the Lamp.”

Born May 12, 1820, Nightingale earned the nickname during the Crimean War when one correspondent noted that after the battles, after the soldiers had retired and the medical officers slept, Nightingale continued tending the sick and the wounded deep into the night, traveling from bed to bed by the light of the “little lamp in her hand.”

In the mid-1880s, Nightingale established a school to train nurses.

She wrote “Notes on Nursing,” a book that remained a bestseller into the late 20th century.

The Nightingale example continues 200-plus years after her birth.

Nurses are trained individuals who continue their training throughout their lives.

And like Nightingale, nurses tend the sick and injured.

Nurses are the ones who answer patients’ calls and soothe patients’ pains. Nurses perform these tasks throughout the day and night. 

If you’ve ever been in the hospital, ever had a relative who needed care, remember the nurses who comforted you or a loved one.

This week acknowledges the tireless commitment nursing professionals provide all year long. It’s an opportunity for employers, patients, and our community to recognize their contributions.

Throughout Tennessee and the nation, nurses help provide the baseline of care in our communities, serving at the front line of public health. There’s no overstating the importance and significance of the care they provide. 

Tell a nurse thanks for all they do, whether it is at the end of National Nurses Week or any day. Tell them thanks, treat them with respect, show them every courtesy and never forget their help and their example.

We are always thankful for nurses, but in recent years, saying thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough during National Nurses Week.

COVID-19 had nurses on the front line of care. Not only caring for people whose lives are at risk but risking their own lives to provide that care.