Have You Thanked a Nurse Lately?

I’m really bad at keeping up with all these national days, weeks and months of recognition.  I somehow missed the opportunity to indulge on National Potato Chip Day (March 14).  I didn’t even notice that Ohio Governor Kasich signed a proclamation earlier this year designating February 6 as National Pork Rind Day.  But today I found a national celebration I can really rally behind – National Nurses Week (May 6 – 12).

What a great idea — celebrating the people who immunize our kids, listen to our concerns and advise us on important preventive health care for our families.  Frankly, I can’t imagine how anything would get done in a health care setting without nurses.

My last interaction with a nurse was during my annual exam with my nurse practitioner.  Even though I see her only once a year, she has a major impact on my health. She doesn’t let me justify away those extra pounds (hope she doesn’t read about my plans to celebrate national potato chip day next year) but she also doesn’t make harsh judgments.  I always wonder how she has the ability to take so much time with her patients and really listen.  A nursing student accompanied her during my last visit. When she was out of the room tracking down more information to share with me on vitamins, the student nurse told me she is amazed by how she is able to handle a full caseload while taking the time to be fully engaged with every patient that walks in the door.

When my super-human nurse practitioner came back to the room, I figured it was time to whisk me out of the office but she insisted on catching up on other things.  She asked me about my family and my job.  When she learned that I worked on health care issues, she was curious about the Affordable Care Act.  She really had not heard very much about it.  (I guess she’s been too busy spending quality time with patients to spend much time trying to decipher all the misinformation that’s been circulating on the new health law.)  She was thrilled with the fact that insurance companies have to spend more on actual health care, that people would no longer be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions and that women would no longer be charged higher premiums than men.

Nurses are critically important to our nation’s efforts to improve the quality of care and reach more uninsured people through the Affordable Care Act.  The new health law recognizes that fact and includes provisions to make sure that nurses get the support and training they need.  For more on the importance of nurses and what the Administration is doing to support their hard work, please read the statement on National Nurses Week issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and report on how the new health law has benefitted nurses.

Remember, thanking a nurse is good for your health while eating pork rinds and potato chips will only cause you to need a nurse.  Happy Nurses Week!

Cathy Hope
Cathy Hope is the Communications Director at the Center for Children and Families