National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale served in difficult times, much like today’s nurses, who have faced incredible challenges during the past three years.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has extended its recognition to include the entire month of May. ANA, which supports and promotes National Nurses Week, has selected the theme You Make a Difference to honor varying nursing roles and their positive impact on our lives. We trust nurses to bring their expertise and come to the aid of patients, families, and caregivers when we need them most.
Nurses have served a critical role throughout history, as Florence Nightingale demonstrated when caring for soldiers during the Crimean War in the 1800s. Nightingale decreased death rates from diseases such as typhus, cholera, and dysentery while also focusing on improving the care environment. Nightingale would be proud to know that her legacy continues to live on.
This year, National Nurses Month will include four weekly focus areas: self-care, recognition, professional development, and community engagement. We hope everyone will take time to honor your nurses this month (and every month) for their invaluable role in our lives.
Most trusted profession
For the 21st year in a row, Americans rated nursing as the most trusted profession, according to a 2022 Gallup poll. Gallup’s Honesty and Ethics poll has rated professions annually since 1990. Nurses have ranked first every year except 2001, when firefighters claimed the top spot.
In a January 2023 press release, ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy stated, “This recognition belongs to America’s 4.4 million incredible nurses. For more than two decades now, the nation has recognized the vital role you play in keeping our friends, families, and communities safe and healthy, regardless of the setting you work in or the challenges you might face. Your ranking in this poll is an acknowledgement that without your bravery, professionalism, and clinical expertise, our healthcare system could not function. I look forward to celebrating and sharing your many remarkable achievements over the course of 2023 and beyond.”
Mensik Kennedy also acknowledged the difficulties of the past year. Even though COVID-19 has receded, its impacts — along with challenges like workplace violence — continue to present threats to the nursing profession.
Yet today and every day, nurses are providing vital care despite these challenges with compassion and dedication. Nurses have stepped up to safeguard the well-being of their patients and communities.
The nursing profession brings personal challenges as nurses confront death and disease while providing care. When nurses arrive for their shifts not knowing what the day will bring, they know what they will bring to the day — their commitment to making a difference.
Show your appreciation
Leaders can make a difference for their nurses by taking the opportunity to highlight the positive impact each team member is making. Nurses appreciate leaders who intentionally support their emotional and physical well-being.
Strong support is critical to nurses’ ability to show up, give their all to 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.
Even small gestures can make an impact if they are intentional and meaningful. A personal note of thanks, ordering food, or an informal verbal shout-out can effectively convey appreciation and even help prevent burnout. Formal recognitions, such as a DAISY Award, can have a major impact on the career of a nurse with lifetime benefits through the DAISY Foundation. During National Nurses Week and beyond, meaning recognition is important for healthcare leaders, recruiters, and fellow nurses to adopt.
Nurse.com celebrates nurses everywhere for their hard work and dedication. We appreciate all you do every day to make a difference.
To learn more about what’s important to nurses, you can review the findings within the 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report.