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Celebrating National Nurses Week: The Reality of Making a Difference

Each year Relias celebrates National Nurses Week, which usually begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year, like 2021’s National Nurses Week, is different with the COVID-19 pandemic accompanying the celebration.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has extended the recognition to include the entire month of May. ANA, which supports and promotes National Nurses Week, has selected the evergreen theme Nurses Make a Difference to recognize the many nurses and roles impacting our lives.

Like never before, the world can see how much nurses do to make a difference. Nurses care for people in their hour of need and show 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. We trust nurses to bring their expertise and come to the aid of patients, families, and caregivers when we need them 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 20 years running.

This year for National Nurses Week, we are celebrating nurses who have been on the front lines of the pandemic since 2020. Even in this climate, we trust nurses 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.

Resilience 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. They 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 must often care for higher acuity patients with the goal of making a difference. In times of crisis, their ideal aspirations may seem 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 celebrates nurses everywhere for their hard work and dedication. 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. 


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