Nurses Week commemorates trusted caretakers

Published 10:02 pm Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mothers aren’t the only caregivers that are being celebrated today as Friday marked the beginning of Nurses’ Week.

Every year, nurses are commemorated May 6-12 for their service. May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the mother of nursing.

Phyllis Stoneburner, vice president of nursing at Sentara Obici Hospital, said nurses should be celebrated because many of the people who are admitted to hospitals need nursing care more than anything.

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“The ultimate provider of care at the bedside is the nurse,” she said. “Nursing in a hospital is a 24-7 business.”

Although being a nurse causes a roller coaster of emotions, Stoneburner said she thinks it is the perfect opportunity to touch people’s lives.

“I don’t think there’s another profession out there that touches more lives,” she said.

This year’s theme for nurses’ week is “Nurses Trusted to Care.”

To mark the week, Obici has arranged several events to pamper and treat the nearly 400 nurses who work at the hospital, including a pancake breakfast, a carnival-themed picnic, a coffee bar for the night shift and afternoon tea to celebrate Nightingale’s birthday.

Stoneburner said Nurses’ Week has been an especially sentimental time of year for her since she first graduated from nursing school in 1978.

It has been important to her parents also. They have sent her flowers on May 6 every year since she graduated from nursing school as a way to show their pride and appreciation for what she does.

“They were so proud I went into this profession,” she said. “It’s affirming for me that I chose the right career path.”

To give back to the nurses in your life, Stoneburner said the best thing to do is let them know you appreciate them.

She suggests calling them to say ‘thank you’ or sending them a card or flowers.

“If you have been cared for by a nurse that has touched your life, let them know,” she said. “That feedback is manna for the soul; it really does help solidify to us why we choose this profession.”