Throughout every step of the health care process, nurses are there to provide the medical support we need, whether we are battling illness or simply looking to maintain our good health. From emergency rooms to family practices, in school clinics and in homeless shelters, our health facilities run on the perseverance, dedication and expertise of nurses. Without their hard work, our health care system would be unable to function.

In order to honor these invaluable professionals, we, as a country, celebrate National Nurses Week from May 6th to May 12th. This celebration kicks off with National Nurses Day and ends on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the founder of modern nursing.

 Each year, the American Nurses Association designates a theme for the week, 2012 theme being “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.” This designation is especially appropriate, as it denotes some of nurses’ most important roles. Indeed, as advocators, leaders and caregivers, nurses have touched the lives of each and every one of us.

For all that they do, National Nurses Week gives us the chance to express our appreciation and gratitude to all the nurses throughout the U.S. As of 2011, there were more than 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide, and more than 160,000 RNs in Ohio. In fact, nursing is the largest profession among those employed in the health care field. There is no way to overstate the importance of nurses within our hospitals and nursing homes, our hospices and clinics. They often work long hours to ensure that our families and communities are properly cared for, and they certainly deserve our recognition.

Ever since Florence Nightingale laid the groundwork when she opened a nursing school in 1860, professional nurses have been here to guide us through every step of our health care journey. We often think of new technologies and medications as the drivers of modern medicine. However, these innovations would be useless without the sustained patient care and human expertise that nurses bring to our health care system. Please join me in honoring these medical leaders during National Nurses Week.


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