Thursday, May 8, 2014

Celebrating nurses

In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare proposed Nurses Day to President Eisenhower.  That was the first attempt to nationally recognize nurses.  Eisenhower did nothing.  President Richard Nixon finally did something in 1974 when he declared a week in February as National Nurse Week.  In 1990, the American Nurses Association began the current National Nurses Week celebrated from May 6th to May 12th.  Those dates were chosen because Florence Nightingale's birthday was May12.  Within that week, May 8th (that's today) was chosen to be National Nurses Day.
Now you know why I am writing about nurses today.  You actually only know one reason.  I have always had a great respect for those in nursing and really should have written about them long ago.  My mother was a nurse.  She was in the very first class of a school in Oneonta, NY and I can still recall her pride at her capping ceremony and all the hard work and dedication that she showed over the years at the many places she worked.
When Mom lay dying in a local hospital last year, I was again reminded of what angels nurses are.  While there were many wonderful professionals, there was one man in particular whom I will never forget.  He introduced himself to Mom the night she was admitted and then asked her what she wanted to be called.  That really touched her.  Someone cared enough to ask instead of just using her first name or calling her Mrs. - this guy asked.  It wasn't the only time he made an  impression.  Just a few days later when her breathing had become difficult and she was in obvious distress, he was working in a different ward, but on my way to get her nurse for that day, I ran into him in the hall.  I was visibly upset and when I told him what was wrong, he turned and came immediately to her room telling me not to worry.  He stayed there with her for the next hour on what I later learned was his own time (he had gotten off just before I ran into him).
There are wonderful nurses who make a difference every day.  They take pride in their work and they care about their patients.  Let them know they are appreciated!

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