Celebrating the vital role of nurses in healthcare

Post date: May 10, 2018 by Brenda Peterson Bublitz

National Nurses Week is a time to celebrate the vital role of nurses in healthcare. The week-long recognition begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. 

First celebrated in 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s pioneering nursing approach during the Crimean War, official recognition began in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan signed the proclamation declaring May 6 as National Nurses Day. In 1994, the American Nursing Association (ANA) permanently designated National Nurses Week May 6-12. This year’s theme, “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence,” points to the expanding role of nurses in healthcare.

For the past 16 years, the public has rated nursing as the most honest and ethical profession (Gallup Poll, 2017). The community’s trust in nurses is both an honor and a distinction that I, as a nurse, take pride in. It reflects and recognizes the nursing profession’s dedication and commitment to protect, promote, and improve healthcare. The role of the nurse has expanded over time to encompass a wide range of responsibilities and work settings, enabling nurses to innovate in community care, scientific research, clinical settings, and healthcare administration. 

Nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals providing direct patient care. As healthcare rapidly changes, nurses are becoming involved in transformation at all levels and serving as leaders in ensuring high-quality patient care. Their leadership and participation in organizational learning, alongside other members of the healthcare team, promotes their key role in creating and maintaining the structures and processes for quality improvement to ensure safe and reliable care. 

Integrity, respect, humility, teamwork, service, and continuous improvement – all principles the nursing profession embraces – form the foundation for transformational improvement in patient-centered care. Nurses at all levels are now using the A3 thinking model – the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle – to test and implement changes in real-work settings and determine if those changes result in improvement. The utilization of this methodology will continue to change and improve the clinical practice of nurses. My hope is that as the number of nurses involved in the improvement of patient-centered care continues to grow, the benefits that result from their work will motivate even more nurses to become involved.

Please join me this week in recognizing all nurses, whose dynamic contributions influence and promote health and well-being in our communities.