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.

"My mom was a home health nurse and I remember going on visits with her when she had to work late. Often all she would be "required" to do was a check in but she did so much more. She made her patients a quick dinner or picked up their living room. She held hands and listened to the same story for the 50th time just like it was the first time. She comforted and healed, innovated and invented, she was just as many parts Florence Nightengale as she was McGyver in some situations. She was an amazing practitioner and one of the reasons I am a nurse too."

-Jordan Ferris

"I was hospitalized when I was 17 for two weeks, over Christmas, 40 miles away from my home. It was long distance to call my friends in the 1970s, so I sat there alone most of the time. I was in pain, afraid to ask for anything, and I went several days without combing my hair, brushing my teeth, or having a wash cloth to even wash my face. The nurses were busy, and I was timid, and I saw a nurse only once or twice a shift. I was crying one day when a middle aged nurse came into my room, sat on my bed, and said "Before I ask you to tell me what's wrong, let's get you cleaned up a bit". She got me all the hygiene products I needed, took me into the bathroom, and helped me get cleaned up. I will never forget how kind she was to me. After several years of trying different jobs, I decided I wanted to help people like that nurse did for me, so I signed up for nursing school. Because I had two years of college already, I started school a few weeks later. Now, after 32 years of being a nurse and going to school between children and trying to balance my work and home life, I have a MSN degree and am the Director of Nursing of a 450 bed State Veterans Home. I still remember that Nurse's face, her kindness, and how she made me feel better. I find joy in my job every day when I get a smile out of someone, or when I know I did something to make things better here for the members or the staff. I always remember how I felt when I was away from home, scared, and helpless, and I try to make someone feel better like that one special nurse did for me. She gave me the inspiration I needed to find the right career for me. I hope that some day I will inspire someone else to find the passion for making nursing a career and for remembering all the little things that mean a lot to someone; to take the extra time to do those little things even when you are too busy, and knowing how important those things can be for someone."

-JoAnne Cripps

"My husband is a disabled veteran, recently admitted to the VA Hospital for surgery. One of his nurses was exceptionally sensitive to not only what he was going through, but also by demonstrating his expertise in practice. As a nurse myself, I knew immediately that he was right on top of everything. He made sure his patient was positioned properly and adequately medicated for pain. He systematically checked vitals, dressings, IV's, urinary drainage, all the while offering encouragement and support to someone who had just been through a grueling neuro-surgical procedure. He was reassuring to me, as well. I am sure he could sense my anxiety and uncertainty regarding the outcome of this hospitalization. He came back often to check in, constantly reassuring to my husband. I've known so many nurses during the 43 years of my career; this young man is definitely in the top 5 for excellence in practice."

-Diane Johnson