Nurses Week-Celebrate with your Favorite Nurse
Since 1965, the International Nurses Council annually recognizes the efforts of all nurses from the week of May 6 through May 12th, designating May 6th as National Nurses Day. Why those dates? Because, the weeklong celebration cumulates on the birth date of Florence Nightingale, the founder of the science of nursing.
Florence Nightingale was born in England May 12, 1820 and tended to the sick soldiers during the Crimean War. It was during this time that reference was made to her as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ due to her late night rounds with the sick soldiers. In the United Kingdom, the lamp symbolizes nursing, as established by Florence Nightingale, and in a May 12th ceremony, in Westminster Abbey, a symbolic lamp is passed from nurse to nurse.
In 1860, Nightingale set up the first nursing school called the Nightingale Training School, which is known today as the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery. She established caring for the sick, while also tending to the environment in the hospital. Her book, Notes on Nursing, published in 1859, was a manual of information to aid all who practiced the care and well being of others. In its time, there was no other manual like it.
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Advance Practice Nurses
The American Nurses Association, (ANA), honors nurses in all areas and all levels of education, during Nurses Week. This is done through special programs, workshops, speakers, banquets, and hospital events. Each year the ANA chooses a theme that dominates the celebration. The theme for 2011 is: ‘Nurses Trusted to Care’.
In my opinion, this is an appropriate focus, because of the emphasis on patient safety. According to a Gallup Poll, as reported by Nursing World, the nursing profession has held the title of being the most trusted profession for eleven years, with the exception of 2001 when firefighters won the title. Teachers were rated in the top three, after firefighters.
In 2012 the theme for Nurses Week is 'Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.' This is very applicable to the changes that have been developing in the past decade. More nurses are returning to school for their Advanced Practice degrees. New graduates are continuuing their education and moving into roles as Clinical Nurse Specialists or Nurse Practioners. Now, an ambitious nurse can achieve a Doctorate of Science Degree in Nursing.
And, while 'caring and advocacy' have been two cornerstones of the nursing profession, 'leadership' has often been thwarted by the mindset that the nurse 'follows' the doctor's orders. There are still many stereotypes about nurses that are challenging, through the entertainment world, as well as within society as a whole. On a personal level, I cannot count the number of times I, and a fellow nurse-male, would walk in to assess a patient, only later to have that patient ask if "the doctor ordered anything for..." Indignant, I would 'correct' the patient and explain that my co-worker was a nurse, just like me.
I will be celebrating 28 years of being a nurse this May, 2012, and my career has taken me to many places and doing many things. It is a versatile profession that has a lot to offer anyone interested in science, medicine or people.
Fictional nurses in a negative light
Nurses have not always been portrayed favorably on television or in movies. The Hugh Hefner mentality was to sexualize a nurse, and cartoons and movies have depicted nurses in short, tight uniforms with exposed endowed breasts, ministering to the sick by mere handholding. Hospital soaps have further shamed the profession, with characters that have been submissive, doctor chasing, bimbos.
In the movie, M.A.S.H., Major Margaret Houlihan, (Hotlips Houlihan), set high standards for herself and the nurses she led. However bright and intelligent she may be in her profession, her character is viewed as rigid and unyielding-a frequent target of jokes.
Then, there is Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nurse Ratched was infamous for exerting power over the patients of a mental institution, until Jack Nicholson arrived. Then, the battle of wills began. Again, she is portrayed as a rigid, cold woman without heart.
Acknowledge Your Favorite Nurse
While creating this hub, I discovered an interesting song written by Country Joe McDonald, formerly of Country Joe and the Fish. He has researched the subject of nurses for the past 20 years, much to my surprise. In fact, not only is he currently married to a nurse, but his brother is a nurse practioner. In the years of advocating for various groups associated with war, he acknowledges that he failed to support the nurses who offer service and who are often taken for granted.
If you have a favorite nurse let her know how you feel about the important work she does. If your child, especially your son, has the desire to go into the nursing profession, support that decision-it may be the best investment you have made. The next time you are in a medical environment think of the time and attention that a nurse gives to YOU as an individual case.
Happy Nurses Week to all of you hubbers who are also active or retired nurses.
'Thank the Nurse' by Country Joe McDonald
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