The theme of National Nurses Week 2015, running from May 6-12, 2015, is "Ethical Practice. Quality Care," and Springer Publishing Company is proud to honor the nurses whose incredible dedication to the highest standards of care serves as an inspiration to us all. To do so, we collected stories from our readers of how exceptional nursing has made a difference in their lives. Below is a message from Laura Sullivan, ER nurse, in response to the outpouring of appreciation for National Nurses Week 2015.
There are of course hundreds of instances of quick thinking, quality care, and proud moments that I've encountered in my nursing career. There are also stories of loss, frustration, and chaos. The emergency department especially is not a safe place to work, from drug use to violent patients to perhaps one of the biggest public health challenges yet, preparing for ebola and other disease. One of my friends said it best when she called nursing "the most trusted yet invisible profession." It's not just 12+ hour days with no lunch breaks, or walking an average of six miles per shift. It's not just the person who takes vital signs, changes linens, or administers medications. The behind-the-scenes work that your nurses do for you is endless. We advocate for you. We protect you. We care for you, often crying in our cars or into our pillows as we pray for you and your families. We catch mistakes before they get to you. We laugh with you. We love for a living, and it isn't easy: it is physical, emotional, and requires critical thinking for every single minute of our shift.
Some days we get to care for people we really connect with; other days, we see just how much the system fails so many people. Some days we get called "just a nurse," and other days we get called heroes. Every day I go to work in the ER I never know what kind of day I will get---a good one, a bad one, a tragic one. Sometimes you save a life, sometimes you can't. I have never worked as hard in my entire life as I do when I go to work, but I can also say it's the most fulfilling and richly rewarding job I've ever had. We nurse because we are chosen and because you need us.
So, as we get big thank yous from hospital management or social media friends this week, I'm sure there's one thing most nurses would like to say back: You are truly welcome.