Preface: This was originally written to be featured on my company’s blog, but due to some uncontrollable circumstances involving the Legal department and the Marketing department, a kibosh has been placed on further blog posting until Friday. Nurses’ Week is this week and by Friday, this article will have “expired.” I worked hard on crafting this succinctly, especially the final paragraph, I’m not going to waste it.
**A/N: It did make it onto the company Facebook page. On Thursday. Consolation prize? I guess so.
Nurses’ Day 2012
Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring
The profession is both an art and a science, a combination of skills taught in the classroom and lab coupled with a heart to care for patients and their families. The people, male and female, appear in many places outside the hospital – emergency rooms, clinics, nursing homes, private practices, schools and shelters where they teach, research and practice professionally. They are not “lower” than doctors; they are, in fact, often more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of patient care and are first responders in the event of an in-hospital emergency. They do the basic, yet essential, work of the medical industry – administering shots, drawing blood, gathering and processing vital information, staying awake through the night to keep watch over patients, and sometimes even coaching new mothers through difficult labor and delivery. All of these tasks and more they do with a passion for their profession and a strong commitment to patient safety. This May 6th through 12th, as we celebrate National Nurses’ Week, let us take some time to show appreciation and extend our heartfelt thanks to the nearly 3.1 million Registered Nurses in America.
Each year, National Nurses’ Day is celebrated during the week of May 6th through 12th, which also marks the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The ‘Lady with the Lamp,’ as she came to be known, dedicated her life to nursing and campaigning for better healthcare and sanitation for all. Florence was one of the most influential women in Victorian Britain and its Empire, second only to Queen Victoria herself. Some 40 years after her death in 1953, Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare proposed a Presidential proclamation of “Nurses’ Day” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Though the proclamation was not made at that time, National Nurses’ Week was observed annually in an unofficial capacity until it was, at long last, signed into a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan in March, 1982.
International Nurses’ Day is celebrated with the assistance of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a federation of 130+ national nurses’ associations founded in 1899 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Each year, they prepare and distribute the International Nurses’ Day Kit, which contains educational and public information materials. The ICN also propagates themes for each International Nurses’ Day. This year, the theme is “Closing the Gap: From Evidence to Action,” which speaks to the ability of nurses to use evidence to implement change in their sphere of influence regarding the affordability and accessibility of healthcare.
On National Nurses’ Day, we remember that nurses are “capable, conscientious and trustworthy,” as Susan Watson writes for the Battle Creek Enquirer. We can trust and take solace in the Florence Nightingale Pledge. Penned in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses (Detroit, MI), our nurses take this pledge:
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
We can all participate in celebrating National Nurses’ Week by choosing to honor a nurse, and there are many ways to do so. Be it making a gift to the American Nurses’ Foundation, sharing a story of a nurse who matters to you or even writing a note of appreciation to be published in your local newspaper, speak up and out for our wonderful nurses.