Thursday, May 06 | Thought Leadership

Nurses Week: A Voice to Lead

By Mary Gannon, Chief Nursing Officer

I cannot help but think back to Nurses Week, 2020—the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, as well as the Year of the Nurse. 

Historically, celebration of our profession occurs during the first week of May, beginning on the sixth and ending on the 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. In the early months of 2020, I looked forward to the year-long celebration of caregivers, to the glow of the national spotlight as it encircled nurses. 

But then news of the Coronavirus began to worsen with each day. Frontline nurses and all other healthcare staff struggled to care for a very sick population, experiencing the devastation of individuals dying without family at their side, seeing the loneliness, seeing the isolation. 

In May of 2020, the public health crisis was very real. And it still is today.  

This year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) extended the Year of the Nurse and Midwife into 2021. The lessons learned from 2020 are immense and highlight all that nurses are and have been. This past year has demonstrated the strength of nurses as they faced challenges not only in caring for the patients they serve, but in prioritizing their own physical, mental and emotional well-being. 

Despite those challenges, nurses continue to step up and step out to face each and every challenge, truly embodying the theme of this year’s Nurses Week:  A Voice to Lead.

While the pandemic exposed weaknesses in our healthcare system, it also wrenched open doors to more innovation, to changing models of care, to opportunity to expand the breadth and depth of our profession. 

Over the coming year, nurses must reflect and rejoice in their profession—the most trusted and core profession in healthcare. While last year posed unimaginable challenges, take time for yourselves, take care of yourselves and make time to celebrate all that you do and are.

Meet the Author

Mary Gannon Blog Photo
Mary Gannon · Chief Nursing Officer

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