National Nurses Week: The Profession That Earned an Admirable Reputation for Care, Ethics and Trust

We have written in the past about the importance of our nurses and the quality care, love and support they give to our older Americans. 

Now more than ever, we need to find time to say thank you to the nurses who put their lives on the line everyday during the coronavirus pandemic.  Nurses week is May 6-12 and couldn't come at a better time to celebrate their extraordinary efforts to keep us healthy.  The relentless  pursuit to provide quality care to make our lives easier does not ever need to be taken for granted. It is not just the care they provide, but their unselfish love for their patients that they are so fond of giving.  Quite frankly, with what the nurses have had to endure during their coronavirus frontline efforts and how they have responded, we should celebrate our nurses for the remainder of 2020! 

Sometimes being at the top can bread a sense of contentment, but not for our nurses.  In 2019  the nursing profession was rated by Gallup analytics, as number one for honesty and ethics for the 18th consecutive year. Not to pick on a particular profession, but in comparison, Gallup rated only 9 percent of automobile salespeople as having a high level of honesty and ethics.  Now, with the sacrifices that nurses have endured during the coronavirus pandemic, their respectability numbers will no doubt ascend to record heights.  You would think the World Health Organization had a crystal ball back in January 2019 when they proposed declaring 2020 the “Year of the Nurse”. 

We were fortunate to catch up with Phyllis Woods, an emergency room nurse who works at Grady Hospital in the heart of downtown Atlanta, GA., the 5th largest public hospital in the United States. Grady Hospital ER sees everything from gun shot and stab wounds, to heart attacks to automobile accidents. The coronavirus has changed things dramatically, but according to Ms. Woods, Grady has done an exceptional job of training nurses on how to protect themselves, patients and other members of the patients health care team.

Ms. Woods has seen it all and manages to do what she does best: offer love, care and support for patients and families.  Her compassionate personal skills are often put to test when she has to comfort those  families who just received difficult news.  It takes an extraordinary attitude to do what Ms. Woods does during the week.  Not only does she work through the night and into the wee hours of the morning and care for her family, but she also manages to work as a nurse for some of the local nursing homes.  Ms. Woods said, “It is so heartwarming seeing the smiles come across the faces of the residents when friends come by the nursing homes and honk, wave and sing to the residents.” 

With our nation getting older, especially with our baby boomers aging, we are very concerned about having enough nurses like Ms Woods to serve the elder population.  The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), reports a nationwide shortage of nurses and those projections will intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for healthcare grows.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the nursing professions as the leading occupation in terms of job growth through 2026.  The registered nurse workforce is expected to grow from 2.9 mllion in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026, an increase of 438,100. Thankfully, the AACN is working diligently with policy makers, schools, nursing organizations and the media to bring awareness to this healthcare concern.

In this fast paced world we live in, it is sometimes easy to overlook the small stuff, but with Nurses Week fast approaching, it is our duty to find a way to say thank you and recognize these warriors who make so many sacrifices.  Just saying thank you is what counts, but these 4 tips may make it easier for you:

  • Hand written notes-this special trait is a lost art, but probably the most effective of all.  No doubt, if you take the time to write a note, the recipient will definitely know you care.  This good-will personal gesture simply makes the ricipient feel good as well as the sender. Psychology today indicates the hand written note boosts positive emotions and well being by the letter writer and the recipient.
  • Giving Gifts-it is not the size or amount of the gift that matters, it is the act of giving that shows we are grateful for them and what the recipient means to us.
  • Cooking a Meal-giving a home cooked meal creates a special bond even if the recipient isn’t present during the cooking.  You are able to show genuine appreciation and support after preparing a warm cooked meal. 
  • Box of Chocolates-giving chocolate has been an expression of appreciation and love for years. There is something special about chocolate that makes us all feel good.

There is no perfect formula to show our appreciation for our nurses. By just acknowledging a nurse and showing you appreciate all that they do will go a long way in helping our nurses feel they are making a difference. Everyone who works as a nurse has their own personal story as to why they chose their career.  Ms. Woods' mom had high blood pressure when she was a little girl and she found a way to pitch in to assist with her care.  She realized early on that she wanted to be a nurse and take care of people.  She wants to be remembered as a caring nurse, loving mom and wonderful daughter.  We can assure you Ms. Woods, you and your fellow nurses will easily be remembered for your love and compassion for many years to come.


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