STONE: Nurses inspire, influence and innovate

Few professions embody certain characteristics that, at the very mention of their name, define who they are. Compassionate, courageous, strong, and dedicated are among several of these traits nurses exemplify each and every day. These not only identify who they are, but what they bring to patient care and healthcare in whole. Each year, from May 6th through the 12th, we honor the nearly 3 million nurses nationwide in celebrating National Nurses Week. These exceptional men and women lead the way, fostering patient trust and promoting health by incorporating the science and technology of healthcare with a much needed dose of humanity and compassion.

Since 1994, National Nurses Week has been celebrated each year from May 6th through the 12th. The dates, particularly May 12th is significant as it falls on the birth date of Florence Nightingale who is regarded as the founder of the modern nursing profession. The profession has dramatically changed since its infancy during Florence Nightingale’s days, but patient advocacy is and will always be the foremost responsibility of the nurse to their patient. Whether it’s a soldier on the battlefield or a sick child in the hospital, nurses are often a patient’s eyes when they cannot see, ears when they cannot hear, or their voice when they cannot speak. It is this unrelenting support of the patient that continues to make nurses the most trusted professionals in the world.

Contingent on the patient’s needs, nurses incorporate the art of caring by bringing hope to those who are scared, comfort to those in pain, and acting swiftly to save the lives of those in danger. Emphasizing the humanity of healthcare, we understand the science and medical interventions in treating disease and illness…but also recognize and incorporate the patient’s religious and cultural needs into the plan of care. Caring for the patient as a whole…physically, emotionally, and spiritually is a unique quality among nursing professionals and one we take great pride in providing.

Each National Nurses Week has a theme, and in 2018 it is “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence.” True to form, nurses certainly inspire the many lives they impact through their care and service throughout our community. As direct patient care providers, administrators, educators, and policy makers, the innovations in care delivery and practice are always focused on one common goal…the patient. Even through the challenges of an ever-changing landscape within the healthcare industry, nurses have…and always will, base every decision, therapy, and intervention in the best interest of the patient and using this influence as their motivation in improving lives through dedicated service and compassion.

It’s very humbling to be allowed an opportunity to care for patients…especially during good times and in bad. It takes a great deal of responsibility for nurses to do what they do. Being injected into environments where trust is earned, nurses often must face great adversity to prove themselves not only to patients, but to other healthcare professionals as well…particularly physicians. To practice our profession and serve our community is not only an honor; it’s a privilege, a privilege we hold in the highest regard.

Hopefully a nurse has made a positive impact in your life. Whether a nurse has cared for your family or you personally, they are heroes and angels among us worthy of our appreciation and thanks. So, as you embark on your week, take time to thank a nurse and let them know their work is appreciated.