Celebrating National Nurses Week

Welcome to National Nurses Week 2023! We celebrate our nurses May 6th through May 12th.

While nursing remains one of the most respected professions in the United States, and around the globe, we also see television and internet images of nursing strikes, inadequate staffing, nurses’ safety, and mandatory overtime. It would be easy for nurses and the people who rely on their care to feel disheartened about the future of nursing. But despite the headlines, most nurses will tell you their pledge and commitment are as strong as the day they entered the profession. Nursing is not just a job, but a career, a vocation, a way of being and thinking.

I recently asked several colleagues why they chose nursing and what it means to them. One reply summed up how many nurses see their life work. “Nursing gives me the opportunity to grow and learn; to utilize critical thinking skills; demonstrate caring and compassion for others and eventually towards myself. I have worked in many areas of nursing and been able to incorporate knowledge and skills learned from each area to help me become a more compassionate caregiver. I have practiced for over 50 years and still find joy, challenge, gratification, and fulfillment in the profession.”

Another wrote, “the most rewarding thing I have found about being a nurse is the personal connection I can make with patients. No matter how long it has been, a patient remembers their nurse. They may or may not remember the nurse’s name, but they remember if they were kind and compassionate. A good nurse always is.”

The future of nursing has challenges ahead. But there is also much hope. Great nurses continue to graduate from programs and continue to serve patients in many ways, in many different settings. There is also great spirit; nurses of all ages, backgrounds, and disciplines show up every day to continue the tradition and build the profession. Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.” That’s what nurses do every day.

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