National Nurses Week begins May 6

BY JUDY BLAZEK

Every year nurses and the nursing profession are celebrated across the country during National Nurses Week, beginning May 6, National Nurses Day, and ending on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale who is recognized as the founder of modern nursing.
 

‘We are lucky to have such a great nursing staff in Van Horn,” said Lou Conely, R.N., chief nursing officer for Culberson Hospital.  “Each staff member brings important clinical skills to our patient care team, and prides him or herself on taking care of our patients like family,” she continued.
 
The nursing staff at Culberson Hospital and Van Horn Rural Health Clinic is composed of 25 employees including nurse practitioner Karla Morrow, nine registered nurses, six licensed vocational nurses and nine nursing and medical assistants.  Those working in the hospital provide care to hospital inpatients, swing bed patients and emergency department patients 24-hours-a day, 7-days-a-week.
 
“Nursing at a Critical Access hospital like Culberson is very different from nursing in a large urban hospital,” Conley said.  “Nurses are now trained to specialize, but here in Van Horn, our nurses have to be able to do everything. They provide lifesaving care in the Emergency Department, general nursing care to hospital inpatients, and rehabilitation and geriatric nursing care to swing bed patients,” she explained.

Nursing staff in the clinic check patient vital signs, provide initial patient assessments, help to manage chronic illness and assist physicians with the delivery of treatments and therapies.

Hospital and clinic nurses also help educate patients regarding their care and work with patients on disease prevention and wellness, and initiate and participate in quality assurance and patient safety activities.

“Although we combine the recognition of our nurses with the recognition of our entire staff during National Hospital Week, which begins May 11, National Nurses Week provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of our nurses and increase awareness within the hospital and in the community of all that our nurses do,” noted Conley.

National Nurses Week was observed for the first time in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea.  However, it was not until 1974 that President Gerald Ford designated a week in February to honor the nation’s nursing caregivers.  The ANA established May 6 through May 12 as permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week in 1993.

Nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with nearly three million employed professionals.  The demand for nurses is projected to grow faster than all other occupations, with more than one million new RNs needed by 2022 to fill new jobs and replace RNs who leave the profession.

“Recruitment and retention of nurses to small communities like Van Horn is a challenge because of the competition for nurses throughout Texas and the country,” said Jared Chanski, hospital administrator, “and we hope the community will join us in letting our nurses know how much we all appreciate them.”