Team of doctors and nurses in hospital

Happy National Nurses Week!

When I was a resident in general surgery years ago, I was frequently told that my best friends would be the nurses I work with – they can either make you or break you. And that was so true. They can help during some of the toughest moments of training, and even afterwards. Treat them with respect.

Sadly, I must say that I may not have always been so nice with utilization review, but that is a story for another time, and I have repented in many ways. This week is a great time to recognize the great work that nurses do, especially in this time of so much turmoil. I have no intention of listing the challenges being experienced now, as that only highlights negativity, and I want to focus on positive aspects. The American Nurses Association (ANA) chose “Nurses Make a Difference” as this year’s National Nurses Week theme, to honor the varying roles of nurses and their positive impact on our lives.

I would like to take that one step further and highlight the nursing profession with one word: trust. There are so many definitions of this, but the one I like best is that trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. It is the foundation and the glue of a relationship, and we all know about the nurse-patient relationship. Among the many, many professionals and non-professionals involved with patient care, nurses should be celebrated for their role this week.

Trust is also a two-way street, based on honesty, compassion, and concern. We know that nurses don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk. Nurses have a skill set that goes beyond their medical and technical skills; they are like your bartender, but in a different setting, and of course, without the alcohol. The time they spend with patients and their families helps them gain insights into their patients’ wants, needs, behaviors, health habits, and concerns, making them uniquely positioned to become important advocates in their care.

Yet, nurses are not just limited to the hospital setting, the acute-care setting. We find them everywhere, from healthcare settings like urgent care centers and physician offices to other community roles, such as in schools. In concluding, when I see a member of the present or past military community, I always try to say to them, thank you for your service. We should take a similar moment to say thank you to nurses – the ones we know, and those we don’t. Happy National Nurses Week!

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