Honoring Our Nurses During a Pandemic

Every year, we celebrate National Nurses Week—casually giving thanks for their service in hospitals, skilled care facilities, schools, doctors’ offices and clinics all over the country.

This year is different.

As National Nurses Week has come around again, May 6-12, our communities are gripped in the teeth of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past two months, our nation has witnessed the depth of nurses’ steadfast commitment to human life and their skilled expertise in fighting this deadly virus. 

We’ve been awed by the stories of nurses going to New York to serve in one of the pandemic’s deadliest hotspots to support their fellow health care providers and provide care for stricken New Yorkers. In so many cases, nurses have continued to serve despite shortages of necessary PPE to protect themselves from infection.  Tragically, many have fallen ill, and some have lost their lives to COVID-19.

They’ve selflessly done battle with the virus to nurse patients back to health. They’ve cheered patients when they’ve been taken off ventilators.

When families have not been allowed to see their COVID-19 stricken family members in the hospital, it has been the nurses who have kept company with their loved ones in their last hours.

Now is the time to recognize how truly invaluable nurses are.

Study after study has shown that appropriate staffing of nurses translates into better patient outcomes and fewer patient deaths. During normal times, nurses provide round the clock care, seven days a week.  Their work has always been physically, emotionally and psychologically demanding, calling on deep reserves of commitment, compassion and dedication.  During this pandemic, our nurses are called upon to go above and beyond the demands of their profession in ways few could ever imagine.  Our nurses are Health Care Heroes doing battle every day to save lives and protect public health.

This horrible pandemic has shown all of us that nurses are indispensable. 

To all the nurses, I say:

We are in awe of your strength.

We value your expertise.

We are comforted by your compassion.

We thank you.