The American Nurses Association's theme for Nurses Week 2006 is "Nurses: Strength, Commitment, and Compassion," reflecting the many attributes of professional nurses in diverse clinical settings throughout the healthcare continuum.
As healthcare facilities and educational institutions prepared to honor nurses this year, ADVANCE discovered celebrations as diverse as the profession.
Carol L. Hodges, RN, BC, nursing education coordinator/Magnet coordinator at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) in St. Johnsbury, spoke for nurse leaders across the country when she described the dilemma faced as each Nurses Week approaches.
"Even though the Professional Service Group tries very hard each year to come up with an innovative way of giving recognition to the nursing staff, it always seems minuscule compared to what these nurses do for the patients and their community," she explained.
Tokens of Appreciation
Many healthcare institutions honor nurses by hosting gala meals, publishing profiles of nurses, or distributing gifts.
"In the past we have done various things such as giving pins, pens, flowers, plants, chairs, bags, coolers, and uniform certificates, along with posting a recognition to NVRH Nurses by listing all nursing staff in the local paper," said Hodges.
"This year we will be producing a pamphlet listing all nursing staff, but we will also be featuring pictures of the various committees and task forces that nurses participate on," she added. "There will be a Nurse's Day Breakfast where some of the Medical Staff will be the servers. We will also be having prize drawings throughout the day."
Rita Morgan, MPS, RN, administrator at the Sarah Neuman Center for Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Mamaroneck, NY, plans to publicly express the value of nurses within the long-term care setting.
"Nurses in a nursing home environment are not just compassionate highly skilled professionals, they also serve as an invaluable link between doctors and residents and frequently even between the residents and the family members," she said. "Ask yourself, 'Where would we be without them?'"
At the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, Dean Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, personally distributes mementoes to fellow nurses.
"Each year, our faculty, staff and students look forward to receiving their Nurses Week pins," she said. "The pins are a small token of our appreciation for their hard work and commitment to the profession of nursing."
Special Gifts and Retro Uniforms
Administrative nurse manager, Nancy J. Madejski, BSN, RN, is chair of the committee that honors the dedicated nurses that make up the staff at Florida Hospital facilities including Altamonte Springs, Apopka, Celebration Health, East Orlando, Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park and Florida Centra Care, which operates 14 locations around central Florida.
Each year Florida Hospital gives a special gift to each member of the nursing staff, which compliments a week full of activities.
"Some of the activities have included breakfasts and luncheons for our nurses, spa days with massages, hair styling, harp music, visits from special members of the community - including Miss America Erica Dunlap in 2004 - dessert carts filled with tasty treats, nurses wearing traditional white uniforms and nursing caps to honor the tradition and history of the nursing profession," and more, Madejski said.
Sharon Vincent, EdD, RN, Director of Professional Nursing Practice at MCG Health, Inc in Augusta, GA, shared the health system's plans for honoring its own nurses, as well as nurses from the community.
"The week will begin with a vigil open to all nurses in the community, honoring the work and commitment of nurses," Vincent said. "Each day of the week will have a designated theme, including activities such as the Blessing of the Hands and Nurture the Nurse with free chair massages, and will end with a gala to honor nurses and friends of nurses."