Each year the American Nurses Association selects a theme for Nurses Week, May 6 – 12. As we celebrate our nurses this year, the theme is "Nurses Inspire, Innovate, and Influence." The theme echoes part of our Iredell Health System mission, to "Inspire Wellbeing — Together," which our nurses take to heart all year long.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize the first to inspire, innovate and influence nursing – Florence Nightingale. As the founder of modern nursing, she inspired others by changing the face of nursing and what nurses did by caring for not only a person's physical needs, but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. She was innovative because she was the first to recognize that overcrowding and a lack of ventilation were harmful to patients. She influenced quality outcomes by utilizing her knowledge of statistics to demonstrate how poor sanitary practices were the main reason for high mortality rates in many hospitals.
Iredell Health System (IHS) nurses inspire their patients as they care for them. They often give hope in the face of adversity; encouraging a patient as they walk for the first time after surgery, guiding a mother while giving birth, or holding someone's hand as they take their final breath. Inspiration is providing opportunities for our patients to be and feel encouraged and supported as they are going through their healthcare journey.
Innovation is the act of making a change based on information or data that can have a valued outcome. The nurses at IHS often use evidence-based knowledge in order to positively impact the care patients receive. Innovations include bedside reporting, hourly rounding and getting patients on a ventilator out of bed and possibly walking them for short distances. All of these examples allow patients to get what they need in a timelier manner so they can have a faster recovery.
Nurses throughout our community use their influence to voice patient care issues at the legislative (state and national) level. They also use their influence through nursing research, education, administrative and consulting roles and in various clinical positions — Certified Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner, and Midwife. Many of the practices, policies and competencies for patient care are the result of nurses advocating for their patients. Their influence does not stop within healthcare. It goes throughout the community, places of worship and at home. The voices of nurses are truly for the greater good of the whole, our patients.
Florence certainly created the foundation for "inspiration, innovation and influence." Each and every day nurses throughout our community will use this foundation to further support and care for the patient and their neighbors. This week as we celebrate our nurses, please thank a nurse for being the voice of inspiration, innovation and influence. On behalf of all of us at Iredell Health System, happy National Nurses Week — keep on inspiring, innovating and influencing.