Celebrating Nurse Heroes: The Reality of Making a Difference

“It will take 150 years for the world to see the kind of nursing I envision.”
Florence Nightingale

Each year Relias celebrates National Nurses Week, which is usually scheduled to begin May 6 and end on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year, like 2020’s National Nurses Week, is different with the COVID-19 pandemic accompanying the celebration.

In light of the unique situation this year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has extended the recognition to include the entire month of May. ANA, which supports and promotes National Nurses Week, is joining with the World Health Organization (WHO) and global colleagues to extend the Year of the Nurse and Midwife into 2021 because of the pandemic’s impact on the industry.

Like never before, the world can see how much nurses do to make a difference. Nurses are committed to caring for people in their hour of need and showing compassion for patients and their families during that time.

Nurses have served a critical role throughout history, as Florence Nightingale demonstrated in caring for soldiers during the Crimean War. She managed to decrease the death rates from diseases such as typhus, cholera, and dysentery while also focusing on improving the environment of care.

Nightingale would be proud to know that her legacy continues to live on in America and across the world. Nurses can be trusted to bring their expertise and come to the aid of patients, families, and caregivers when they are needed most.

A Reputation for Ethics and Fortitude

In a recent Gallup poll, Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethics as the highest among a list of professions. In fact, nurses have ranked the highest in this poll for 19 years and running.

This year, however, we celebrate nurses who are on the front lines of a pandemic. Even in this climate, nurses can be trusted to be responsive to their call of duty.

Today and every day, nurses are providing vital care with compassion and dedication. With passion and commitment, they respond with action to make a difference. In this unprecedented crisis, nurses have stepped up and stepped forward in selfless service and devotion to the well-being of patients, families, and communities.

The nursing profession certainly brings personal challenges, as nurses commonly confront death, disease, and contagion while providing care. Even when nurses arrive for their shift not knowing what the day will bring, they know what they can bring to the day — and that is a commitment to making a difference.

Resiliency During Times of Crisis

Nurses are resilient in their call of duty, persevering and performing effectively for the well-being of patients, their families, and their communities in the midst of crisis. Nurses have the innate ability to navigate challenges — adapting to limited resources, working long hours, and continuing to innovate even during a global pandemic — to ensure their patients receive excellent care.

Nurses are bravely leading the front lines as well as working behind the scenes every day to comfort patients and their families in their time of need. Nightingale applauded those qualities, saying, “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear. I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”

Today, nurses are often tasked with caring for higher acuity patients with the goal of making a difference. In times of crisis, their ideal aspirations may seem to be lost while working tirelessly to save patients. It is especially important during this time to recognize their outstanding work and devotion to a profession that is making a difference.

Showing Appreciation, Providing Support

During these times, leaders can make a difference with their nurses by taking the opportunity to highlight the positive impact each team member is making. Nurses appreciate leaders who provide a solid support structure to meet their emotional and physical well-being.

This kind of support is critical to their ability to show up, give their all for their patients, face disappointments and successes, and bravely come back and do it all over again on their next shift. When leaders make a difference for nurses, nurses can continue to make a difference in their organizations by providing highly reliable care for everyone.

Relias applauds the hard work and dedication of nurses everywhere. We appreciate all you do every day to make a difference.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated with new content. 

Felicia Sadler

Patient Safety & Quality Executive, Relias

Felicia has been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in Healthcare, and has served as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. She holds a Master of Jurisprudence in Health Law from Loyola Chicago School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from South University. Felicia has served as chairperson for ASHRM's Education Strategy Committee, and ASHRM’s Education Development Task Force and assists health care organizations with strategic solutions to impact clinical outcomes and optimize organizational performance.

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