National Nurses Week is the perfect time to say thank you

Whether you are in a long term care facility or a newborn, we have all had the wonderful experience of being cared for by a nurse. 

Every year National Nurses Week begins on May 6th and ends May 12th, so take a moment and tell one of the nation's 2,906,840 nurses how much you appreciate them. Often times we forget how important their efforts are to our overall well being, so go the extra mile this week and tell a nurse how much they mean to you.

A nurse is a very noble profession that requires a plethora of talents, but the compassion and care nurses demonstrate for their patients makes the health care experience much easier for the patient. Nurses demonstrate extraordinary patience especially dealing with older Americans and that requires a special quality that most ordinary people struggle with. In a December 2016 Gallup poll, Americans rated health care professionals extremely high for their ethical standards and honesty, but the nurse was at the top of the list (84%) while members of Congress (8%) were at the bottom. Interestingly, nurses have topped the list every year since Gallop started their poll in 1999 except for 2011 when the firefighters garnered the top spot after their heroic 9/11 efforts during the gruesome terrorist attack.

As we know, nurses may see patients at their absolute worst and sometimes even near death. To overcome adverse conditions and somehow turn them into positive experiences, it takes a special kind of person who has complete control over their emotions. If you ask a nurse what it takes to be a nurse, it is quite intriguing at the answers you will receive. Most of the time, they will say that their job is very challenging, but you have to be prepared physically, emotionally and mentally. Typically, they may be juggling patients, administering medications, educating families, but they will tell you it is the most gratifying job in the United States.

One hospital located in Montgomery, AL is Baptist Medical Center East, an 150 bed acute facility named as one of the nation's top hospital's by Thomson Reuters for their high standards of patient care and satisfaction. To reach that lofty level of recognition, it doesn't happen by accident. It takes years and years of doing the little things right for their patients, nurses and staff.

While visiting Baptist Medical Center East, we asked one of their nurses, Mary Smith what it takes to be a good nurse and her answer showed us the key ingredient in providing quality care. It is all about attitude and Ms. Smith, a nurse since 1994, has an extraordinary one. Ms. Smith said, “I love taking care of the patient, family and providing quality care”. On certain occasions especially with med-surg nursing when things are moving fast and the issues are complex, it takes a cool-headed multitasker. Everyday that goes by, nurses come together to meet the needs of their patients.

In addition to being a skilled nurse, Ms. Smith takes great pride in making everyone around her feel good. “We treat a lot of elderly patients and we want them and their visitors to always to feel good,” Ms. Smith added. It takes a special talent to help senior citizens feel better when they have significant health challenges, but Ms. Smith never wants them to give up their fight to get better. During our brief visit, it was crystal clear that these nurses have wonderful hearts for their patients and put every ounce of effort into caring for them. If you have ever wondered why nurses have earned the top billing for their performance and trust can be summed up in Ms. Smith's final words when she said, “There is nothing wrong with loving patients.”

Take the time to drop a nice note to a nurse this week and let them know how grateful you are for the care they provide. Even though they work long hours, your note may be the only time they hear thank you.



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