National Nurses Week, the time to honor and celebrate those who’ve dedicated their lives to helping others in need.
A week dedicated to giving back, showing support, and acknowledging the good they bring to their community. Being the nation’s largest healthcare profession, nurses make up over 30% of the workforce, making them the core of healthcare. Over the last year, nurses have continuously been at the front lines of the pandemic putting their lives at stake to battle COVID-19. We take this week to show our appreciation and gratitude to all of the nurses that have fought, are currently fighting, and especially to those who lost the fight.
What and When is Nurses Week?
National Nurses Week is held each year on May 6th – May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthday). Florence Nightingale was a British nurse in the 1800’s, named to be the founder of modern nursing. This week signifies the theoretical ‘birth of nursing’ and consists of constant celebration held worldwide to honor the good nurses bring to their communities. 2020 was debatably the most challenging year to be a nurse both physically and mentally, which is why this year we also focus on reflection for Nurses Week 2021. The World Health Assembly designated 2020 as ‘The Year of The Nurse’, and the ANA has officially carried it over into 2021 in order to shine a light on how crucial of a role nurses have been playing for the entire world.
How you can you celebrate Nurses Week?
The thing about nurses is that they put their lives at risk for 52 weeks a year, without asking for anything in return. At no extra cost, a nurse will willingly walk into a COVID-19 positive room to ensure their patient’s safety. Although the current pandemic has made it difficult to celebrate anything, this year it is extremely important that we praise all nurses for their work. In the last year, nurses have experienced record incidences of burnout, death, and isolation. Here are just a few ways to honor and celebrate the heroes we call nurses this week:
- Spread Awareness: If you don’t know a nurse, or simply want to participate in the celebration, post a photo or find a graphic to post on social media and use hashtags to connect with others worldwide. Hashtags such as #nursesweek, #nurse, and #nurselife are the top three hashtags used during this week! Although we celebrate nurses every day, going out of your way to spread awareness for them can reach many people who might not know about Nurses Week!
- Listen to Them – It’s likely that a majority of nurses over the last year have been through the wringer. The pandemic has drained many nurses physically, mentally, and spiritually. A common expression for nurses is to ‘leave your emotions at the door’, meaning they have to essentially turn off their feelings to provide professional care while on the job. However, some of the world’s most heart-wrenching events occur within a nurse’s regular shift. Due to the rules and regulations surrounding privacy, often times nurses cannot share their experiences, leaving them with a heavyweight on their shoulders. Reach out to nurses you know and offer an ear to listen, or a shoulder to lean on.
- Write a thank-you note: There is nothing better than receiving a handwritten letter. Grab the closest pen and pad near you and send a nurse a quick thank-you note to express your appreciation for their dedication. Whether it be a nurse you know or a unit that you once stayed on, the letter will be sure to reach deep.
- Share your own experience: If you’ve been to the hospital, you’ve likely encountered a nurse. Has there been a particular instance that stood out or a time where a nurse went the extra mile for you? Share your story with people you know or post online to show others how great nurses can be. Many people haven’t yet had this experience and are unaware of just how much nurses really do.
Although nurses deserve recognition and praise every day, this week is a time to go above and beyond! No matter how you choose to celebrate Nurses Week, taking the time to recognize them and show gratitude can make a huge difference.