Today, May 6, is National Nurses Day, and marks the start of Nurses Week. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in our communities and in society. Nursing Week ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of professional nursing.
I have several nurses in my extended family and my cousin Mindy, who left us in January, was a nurse all her adult life. I am well aware of the sacrifices these hard working women have made to get where they are today. I am most aware of just what it takes to become and be a nurse because of my younger daughter, Adriel, who graduated from nursing school at the end of last year.
How appropriate for her that this is Nurses Week, for Adriel recently passed her Boards and became a RN. This week, after accepting a nursing position at Freeman Hospital, in Joplin, she embarks on this long awaited part of her journey. She never wavered in her determination to reach this point, which isn’t an end but a bright new beginning. All the years of putting herself through school, of working long hours overnight as a CNA, of studying and going to school and working with little sleep have yielded at last to this accomplishment of becoming what she had dreamed of being…a nurse.
I am proud of her. She is caring and compassionate towards those in her care and also no nonsense when the occasion calls for it. She is competent and capable, able to hold the hand of one who is sick and fearful, and able to firmly grasp the hands of one who, in the throes of sickness and despair, tries to strike out at the very one who is helping.
To all nurses who give of themselves to help others, who are the very heart and backbone of healthcare, who rejoice over good news and weep over sad news with their patients, and especially for my daughter Adriel who has stayed the course, I say a deep and heartfelt “thank you” for all that you do. You are so seldom recognized. May you shine this day and this week and know that you are appreciated.