Each year, the American Nurses Association sets aside May 6-12 as National Nurses Week. Traditionally, this week is set aside as a tribute to the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, who's birthday is May 12. The theme this year is “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate." While there is no way to know how many nurses there were in the 1800s, I can only imagine what Florence would think to know that today there are 4 million nurses in the U.S. alone. I can't help but feel that although she was known to be humble, she would be proud to learn of the great accomplishments in nursing that are all ultimately a result of her believing that nursing was her God-given calling.

One reason to celebrate is that nursing is considered one of the most trusted professions, with the higher honesty and ethical standards than any other industry. As a nurse, that is truly an awesome honor and one that I know my colleagues and I do not take lightly. Being a trusted advocate to ensure that individuals, families and communities receive quality patient care and services is truly worth celebrating.

On a more local note, according to the North Carolina Board of Nursing (2019), Iredell County has 2,218 licensed nurses with 650, or 29 percent, currently working. The data does not tell the entire story because we do not know why the other 71 percent are not working, and for a county as large as Iredell, there is a great opportunity to educate, recruit and retain nurses locally.

The nurses at Iredell Health System exhibit the values of respect, compassion, collaboration and integrity from birth to the end of life. Their heart and passion for quality patient care comes across in all aspects of the care they deliver. Our nurses are everywhere we work, play, learn and worship and in many healthcare settings such as hospitals, home care, private practices, clinics and long term care facilities. They work tirelessly in our community to ensure that each and every one of us has the appropriate access to needed healthcare resources.

I believe that it is because nursing has such a strong impact on the care of our community it is the most trusted profession. While we celebrate the 4 million reasons, I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate my local colleagues — Happy Nurses Week! Thank you for believing that nursing is a God-given calling and living that calling every day.

By Becky Quate, DNP, RN,

Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Nursing & Patient Care Services for Iredell Health System

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