National Nurses Week: Celebrate May 6-12
The past year has been especially challenging for many nurses, who bravely and selflessly stepped up to help manage the coronavirus pandemic. Nurses serve as frontline healthcare providers who dedicate their lives to the care of others, working to save lives and improve people’s wellbeing. At least once a year, nurses get the recognition they deserve during National Nurses Week, held May 6-12. This time honors the contributions nurses make to their communities through their work.
What is National Nurses Week?
National Nurses Week recognizes nurses and the work they do. First celebrated in 1954, the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea, National Nurses Week was officially designated as May 6-12 by the American Nurses Association (ANA) board of directors in 1993.
Supported by the ANA, National Nurses Week also encompasses National Student Nurses Day, celebrated on May 8, and National School Nurse Day, celebrated on the Wednesday during that week.
Why National Nurses Week Matters
Nurses have played a vital role in the care of patients for centuries, but the recent coronavirus pandemic especially showed just how essential nurses are to our healthcare system. Risking infection and even death, nurses responded selflessly to the health crisis, taking care of patients in overcrowded emergency rooms, full intensive care units, and even makeshift medical facilities.
Today, there are about 4 million registered nurses in the U.S., making up the largest population of the healthcare workforce. There are more than three times as many registered nurses as physicians, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
What Nurses Do
National Nurses Week is an excellent time to learn about the duties nurses take on and the difference they make in our healthcare system. Nurses serve as primary patient care providers in hospitals — a job that includes everything from checking vital signs to administering treatment.
Because nurses work in a variety of settings, they can take on a number of different roles and specialize in niche areas. For example, IV nurses (also known as infusion nurses) focus on intravenous therapy, such as beginning and maintaining intravenous lines. GI nurses, on the other hand, work specifically with patients with gastric diseases. Nurse practitioners are nurses that have taken their education to another level with specializations that may focus on population groups such as neonatal, family, women’s, or gerontological care or specialties like cardiac, oncology, or neurological.
Nurses also work to educate patients, teaching them and their loved ones about their condition or illness and following up to optimize their health and safety. In addition, nurses deliver the majority of long-term care in the U.S.
If you’re considering a career as a nurse, you can find quick statistics about the job and salary outlook for the position from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You will also want to consider insurance to protect your career and learn more about the type of insurance nurses need.