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.

"Following a harrowing treatment of extended radiation and chemotherapy for an advanced cancer, I developed a Mersa infection in my severe radiation burns. Admitted to the hospital and put into isolation, I was less than coherent and frightened to death. Sharon, a nurse of Scottish descent and a lovely comforting brogue, tended me through that first long night cleaning my very painful burns every few hours and giving me assurance I would live and that my burns would heal. Hers was the most powerful and reassuring voice in my world then, and now, almost 18 months later, I work full time and am much healthier. I shall thank her every day that I live for her gift of presence."

-Sarah Andrews

"The night was bitter cold and my Mom was nearing the end of her long battle with head and neck cancer in an acute assisted living room. The nurse on night shift medicated Mom for pain and gave me a blanket and hot tea. I am the family nurse so I was assigned night watch with Mom as the six of us (her children) knew how much pain and difficulty it would be the last few days. The nurse was a wonderful RN who came in the room every half hour to check on Mom and me. She was so good at listening and gave me words of encouragement. She prayed with me and made sure my Mom's rosary was in her hand (my Mom was a devote Catholic and her rosary always near or in her hand at night). I cannot say enough how the peaceful nature of this nurse gave me strength as my mom breathed her last breath and gave her soul over to God that night. Nurses are so deep in giving and caring in their way. Even when you are a nurse yourself, their comfort spreads the room wide for us all."

-Margaret Wilson

"As I was being transported to the OR for my gastric bypass surgery, a wave of emotions hit me. As a nurse, I knew what complications could occur and I was filled with fear and anxiety. As the doors opened to the OR suite, tears began to fill my eyes. I will never forget how kind and caring the OR nurse and CRNA were. There soothing words and kind eyes, helped reduce my terror immensely. They talked about how I was taking a positive step in my life and asked me to focus on the positive. I will never forget these two individuals and how that day they nursed a nurse holistically."

-Dr. Faith Garrett

"Many will see the theme of “Ethical Practice, Quality Care.”, and relate only to the clinical setting. My mom came to my mind. As a nearly 40-year nursing educator, she always held tight to the belief that students matter. The success of what she accomplished in the academic arena was reflected in how she taught, challenged, advocated for, and celebrated with her students. She demonstrated the highest level of ethical practice and quality of care from the 1960s until 2008. She expected the best from students and she gave 100% effort to their success. She got to clinical early, left late, and on the weekend poured over student’s paperwork, read every article they submitted and provided detailed, encouraging feedback. Labor & Delivery and Newborn Nursery was her clinical setting. She is famous for telling students, “This is the first time this woman will ever deliver this baby. She doesn’t deserve the baggage you bring from home. Be a nurse who she remembers as special – in a good way!” The content area also demanded that she have those hard conversations with students about their values/beliefs related to termination of pregnancies, death and dying, loss and grief, choices, and the ever evolving definition of a family (lasting lessons from the reports of her
former students!). She counseled numerous students in crisis with life events, patiently guided others to rededicate themselves to the profession, and mentored a whole host of junior faculty. I never dreamed that I would follow in her footsteps, but I have just reached the milestone of 20 years as a nursing educator. My students recently gave me a plaque that reads, “A good teacher is a gift from God”. Mom’s students only had her for a semester. I have had her as a teacher for a lifetime."

-Cheryl Robinson