It’s National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week, celebrated annually from May 6th to May 12th, plays a crucial role in acknowledging the significant contributions and dedication of nurses across the United States. 

This week-long event not only honors the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, but also highlights the critical role nurses play in healthcare. Statistics show that as of 2022, there are over 4 million registered nurses in the U.S., making it one of the largest segments of the healthcare workforce. This period is marked by various events and recognitions aimed at appreciating the tireless efforts nurses put into caring for their communities.

Throughout this week, hospitals and healthcare organizations engage in a series of activities such as award ceremonies, educational seminars, and community outreach programs to celebrate their nursing staff. 

The American Nurses Association (ANA) often publishes reports during this time, providing insights into the current trends and challenges within the nursing profession. For instance, a recent report highlighted that 82% of nurses feel that their work is underappreciated by the public, which underscores the importance of such celebratory weeks in boosting morale and public awareness.

Data also reveals the diverse roles nurses play beyond primary healthcare, extending into specialties like geriatrics, pediatrics, and emergency care. With an aging population, the demand for specialized nursing care is on the rise; the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 9% growth in employment for registered nurses from 2020 to 2030. This growth is partly driven by the broader need for healthcare services, especially in underserved rural areas where nurses often serve as the primary providers of healthcare.

However, the nursing profession faces significant challenges such as high rates of burnout and staffing shortages. Approximately 40% of nurses have reported experiencing symptoms of burnout, particularly heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

National Nurses Week serves not only as a time for celebration but also as a critical moment to reflect on these challenges and advocate for sustainable practices and policies that support the health and wellbeing of nurses. Efforts to improve working conditions, enhance professional development opportunities, and increase public recognition are essential to maintaining a robust nursing workforce.

Here are three ways we can support nurses, not just this week, but every week according to DoorSpace CEO Sarah M. Worthy.

  • Encourage ample staffing

Nurses work long and hard hours and organizations can be severely understaffed. We need to encourage legislation that sets standards for staffing in healthcare.

  • Advocate for adequate resources

Nurses can only do so much with what is available. They need supplies and equipment along with access to training and technology to make their jobs more efficient.

  • Recognize contribution and reward high performance

Pizza parties are fine, but bonuses, promotions and benefits packages are what will lead to long-term careers for nurses.

“For a long time, nurses have been taken for granted and are not receiving the support they need. As a result we’re losing great nurses permanently. I’m hopeful as I watch nurses across the country unionize, strike and even run for political office that this is going to help us turn this talent crisis around,” explains DoorSpace CEO Sarah M. Worthy.

Nurses form the backbone of our healthcare system, delivering not just medical care but also compassion and resilience in the face of increasing demands and challenging conditions. The insights provided by Sarah M. Worthy from DoorSpace highlight practical steps we can take to enhance the nursing environment. These include legislative advocacy for better staffing ratios, ensuring nurses have access to the necessary resources, and genuinely recognizing their contributions through substantive rewards and career advancement opportunities.