It’s National Nurses Week! Or at least I thought it was. As I did my due diligence researching what I wanted to write about for this post, I discovered that our amazing nurses don’t just get a week of celebration this year, they get a whole month. But wait…when I dug even further, I found that the World Health Organization actually declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. So, with that, Happy National Nurses Week, Month and Year to all you wonderful nurses out there. And if there ever was a time that our nurses deserved an entire year of recognition, this is it.
Strangely, however, these celebrations were planned last year before the onset of the pandemic, and even before the first coronavirus case was reported. It’s as if the universe knew that our nurses were going to be in the spotlight, putting their lives on the line and making incredible and unimaginable sacrifices in 2020. For all of this and more, we thank you and appreciate you more than we can say.
To help healthcare providers focus their efforts this month, The American Nurses Association (ANA) has outlined some activities. The theme for the month is Nurses Make A Difference. “Whether it is a national health emergency or routine daily care, nurses’ vital contributions impact the health and well-being of our communities,” ANA explains.
ANA recognizes that many of the activities that were originally suggested involve face-to-face interaction and they encourage those celebrating to get creative while engaging virtually. They’ve divided their month-long celebration into four weekly focuses:
- Week 1 (May 1-9): Self Care – A week dedicated to promoting the physical and mental health of nurses.
- Week 2 (May 10-16): Recognition – A time to focus on thanking and honoring nurses – who are more deserving of recognition now more than ever.
- Week 3 (May 17-23): Professional Development – This week is all about sharing stories, and using those stories to advance the nursing profession. A free webinar will be hosted on May 20 on the topic.
- Week 4 (May 24-31): Community Engagement – To close out the week, participants are asked to engage virtually with the community in order to educate others on what nurses do and encourage support for current and future nurses.
Even if you do not work in a healthcare setting and want to honor nurses on the front lines, there are plenty of ways to do so. Consider calling or sending a note of appreciation to your local hospital or senior care center. Have coffee and donuts delivered, or send gift cards to be distributed for groceries and other necessities. You can even make face masks or donate necessary supplies like hand sanitizer. Every act of service and kindness matters and there’s never been a better time to step up and support those in need.
These are just a few ideas for thanking and supporting your nurses this month as they bravely battle COVID-19. I know that several organizations have already stepped in to help with hero pay, more flexibility and other extras to offset the hardships their nurses are currently facing.
Thank you to those providers that recognize the value and irreplaceability of each and every one of your staff members. It takes a special and compassionate person to become a nurse, but it takes a hero to fight on the front lines. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who are fighting that fight.