15 Reasons EVERY Week Should be National Nurses Week
It’s no secret — nurses are pretty awesome! Part angel, part rock star; they are the front line of care, the heartbeat of the hospital. Nurses selflessly care for individuals at their worst and have seen it all. They are an ally for patients and the unit would be utterly lost without them.
So, this National Nurses Week, honor the nurses in your community. And remember that they pour their heart into their work all year long, so there’s no need to limit it to just one week.
We connected with a handful of nursing experts to remind you just how amazing these people truly are.
15 reasons to celebrate nurses year-round
1. They survived nursing school
“Nursing schools are very competitive — not just anyone is accepted and once a nurse is in school, the standards are very high,” says Jami S. Gattuso, MSN and Nursing Research Specialist at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
There’s no sugar coating it, nursing school is tough. Not only do you have to memorize hundreds of medical terms and survive clinicals, nursing students also have to pass the NCLEX exam after graduation. So anyone who’s endured the stress, graduated and become certified should be extremely proud.
2. They are the front line of care
"The only reason why patients are hospitalized is for nursing care. They are the front line."
“The only reason why patients are hospitalized is for nursing care. They are the front line,” adds RN Lorie A. Brown.
It’s the nurse that gets the most face time with patients. It’s the nurse that patients reach out to when they’re in need of reassurance. It’s the nurse that ensures they’re comfortable and being looked after.
3. They often receive less recognition than doctors
“Nurses are the eyes and ears of the doctor,” Brown says. Doctors may receive a lot of the limelight, but without nurses, any hospital or clinic would be left floundering. A doctor may see you for a few minutes during your hospital visit, but it’s the nurse that truly plays an essential role in the healthcare setting.
“You don’t need a doctor’s order or prescription to administer expertise, caring or kindness,” says RN Deborah Hustace, director of clinical operations at BrightStar Care. She knows firsthand that nurses typically get less recognition than they deserve.
4. They are selfless & giving
“Nurses do what they do to give back to others and enrich their patients’ lives. They are the definition of selflessness,” says Susan Finsaas, national health services director of the Goodman Group. It takes a loving and generous person to care for others, especially during a time of uncertainty and vulnerability for many patients.
5. They see their share of sickness & death
Witnessing the final stages of life and standing in the face of death is an emotional process for nurses. Yet they’re the ones there to comfort grieving family members and see to a patient’s final hours.
“Because of the nature of our work, nurses are constantly reminded of the necessity of valuing the dignity and worth of every person. As a result, we become better people,” Hustace says.
6. They are always learning new things
Just because you’re done with nursing school doesn’t mean you’ve learned everything — you’re just getting started. “Education never ends for nurses—we are constantly required to learn about new medications, procedures and skills,” says RN Christy Wolf, director of nurses for BrightStar Care.
7. They’re pretty much geniuses
Nurses have a lot to remember. They have to be medical code whizzes, memorize the entire human anatomy and know the procedures conducted in many departments throughout a hospital. Not to mention they are multitasking mavens.
“Nurses have to store an awful lot of knowledge and be able to think very quickly on their feet. Every nurse is prepared with a vast knowledge base that enables them to care for any and all types of patients,” Gattuso says.
8. They sacrifice nights/weekends/holidays
"Disease and illness doesn't take a holiday."
“Disease and illness doesn’t take a holiday,” Hustace says.
While the rest of us relax and enjoy the holidays, nurses sacrifice their own celebrations to care for others. In the face of family altercations, firework burns and turkeys catching on fire, holiday shifts are anything but a celebration for nurses.
9. They ALWAYS put the patient first
Nothing can get in a way of a nurse striving for the best for his or her patient.
“Nurses are truly devoted to doing the best thing for the patient. Nothing, absolutely nothing is more important or sways a nurse on what he believes unless it achieves the best outcome for the patient,” says Nic Nash-Arnold, R.N. and nurse manager. Hustace adds that nurses make a sacred promise to provide the highest standard of care — something she takes very seriously.
10. They have no idea what each day will bring
If you ask a nurse what a “typical day” is like, he or she will likely laugh in your face. Each day brings new challenges, which is why nurses must be extremely flexible, according to Gattuso.
“Nurses do need to adapt to a variety of situations and personalities. This keeps our jobs interesting!” Wolf says.
11. They treat their patients with patience
Anyone in the hospital to receive care is most likely feeling unsettled and vulnerable during their stay. Nurses do their part to make patients better and feel as comfortable as possible along the way. Wolf says she often encounters crabby patients or difficult family members, but she remains patient knowing they are going through a difficult time.
“We have to remain positive and kind even when met with difficulty,” Wolf says.
12. They forge their own paths
A nurse goes to school to become a nurse. But once they’re in the field, there are many career paths they can follow — many nurses pursue a specialization and some branch off into careers outside of the hospital.
“You can be a nurse through a very long career and perform many different roles or be in different specialties — it truly can be a great career for life,” Gattuso says.
13. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
"You can't pay some people enough money to do what nurses do."
“You can’t pay some people enough money to do what nurses do. They clean every type of bodily fluid and are exposed to some of the most dangerous pathogens,” Brown says.
You’ve heard the medical horror stories. While most people would panic or run from the room, nurses just roll up their sleeves and soldier on.
14. They put their heart on the line
Many nurses chose the professions because they have big hearts and a passion for helping others. This quality lends itself well to the job, but it can also be a curse when they get attached to patients.
“If you take the risk to love someone, to care about someone, you will get hurt—but you will grow from it, be a better nurse for it—and be a better person for it!” Gattuso says.
15. They have a passion for what they do
Most nurses will agree that they didn’t choose the career, but rather the career chose them. Our nursing pros say they were born for the job.
“Nursing isn’t just a job, but a calling. That’s why nurses are some of the most special and essential contributors to healthcare today,” Finsaas says.
There’s no denying it—nurses are pretty incredible and they should be honored this National Nurses Week. Their care and insight make a world of difference in the lives of patients and hospitals would be utterly lost without them. Nurses are essential to the healthcare industry and the need for them is greater than ever.
Think you might have what it takes to join their ranks? Check out our article to find out, "Would I Be a Good Nurse? 10 Questions to Consider."