You are celebrated during National Nurses Week for the many contributions you make to the nursing profession and the healthcare of our nation.
The word “excellence,” in fact, is one we hear more than any other during Nurses Week.
Hospital executives and administrators, board members, physicians and various healthcare professionals join in the celebrations because they know that without you, their patients would not receive the same level of care.
At each event, you are recognized and applauded for your numerous achievements and accomplishments by your fellow nurses and other healthcare professionals who work closely with you and understand firsthand the excellence you bring to all you do.
Newspapers and TV stations run stories on outstanding nurses and nurse heroes who have gone above and beyond in their patient care.
Grateful patients and family members post their gratitude on social media. Even Hallmark sells nurse-themed greeting cards.
My memories and recollections of Nurses Week
I can’t recall a May during my four decades of nursing that didn’t include a National Nurses Week celebration.
Over the years, the week became an important one for nurses across America, and each of them celebrated in some way, for the same types of reasons, at the same time.
I recall the planning that went on in anticipation and the special camaraderie and professional collaboration we all felt because we were working together.
There were special gifts and meals, and each event was important. Everyone got involved and took on some type of assignment to make each event meaningful and memorable.
I remember how much it meant to all of us, and how each one of the days of our celebrations had programs to recognize different things. Who was in charge on what day was an important detail.
Celebrations took place on different shifts, and members of hospital administration came in at different times around the clock to visit patient care units and meet, greet and thank the nurses on duty.
There were programs at which awards were given for research projects, poster presentations, advances in safety, recognition of special accomplishments in patient care and leadership, and more. Nurses were honored for leading special initiatives, spearheading change and heading up important projects.
I remember, too, that each year the art and science of nursing was recognized in some way.
Since the time of our founder — Florence Nightingale — the art and science of nursing have been defined in different ways, and I think many of us have our own definitions.
To me, the art of nursing is the unique and individual piece of self each of us brings to our practice. The knowledge, theory, skill and experience we share with our patients is the science.
Celebrations have changed over time, but the recognition of nurses’ scientific achievements and creative accomplishments have remained. The two always worked beautifully together and were celebrated — together and beautifully as part of each Nurses Week.
Let’s revel in the meaning of Nurses Week together
This week there will be many excellence programs and award ceremonies in healthcare facilities across the country, and each one will reinforce that our nursing careers are gifts for us to hold on to, treasure and nurture.
As you reflect on the meaning of this special week, we hope you will read our special National Nurses Week issue as a keepsake.
Read it, share it, refer back to it and take in all it has to offer. Let us know what you think of the content and tell us what resonated with you the most in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Nurses, always remember to:
- Stay involved, current and abreast of professional research and advancements.
- Participate in your nursing organizations, conferences, conventions and seminars.
- Advance your education and professional certifications.
- Continue to work and learn together.
In the celebration of each Nurses Week over the course of my career, I’ve seen nurses move from rendering care to planning and designing it. In so doing that, nurses have changed the face of our profession and of healthcare.
I’ve seen the public come to know us better as they met us in almost every healthcare encounter they had. It’s not just in the emergency room, operating room, delivery room or patient room, but also in physicians’ offices, ambulatory care, urgent care centers, board rooms, courtrooms and more.
I saw that in the end, the people have come to see us as the most trusted and ethical profession of all. And that gives all of us something really big to celebrate this week.
Happy National Nurses Week!