During this year’s National Nurses Week, May 6-12, RNs nationwide took a strong message to the public. Nurses are leaders in developing strategies to improve patient outcomes and innovative solutions to vexing health care problems — in addition to their more broadly recognized role as direct caregivers.
This year, images of nurses’ work, pride and commitment were depicted in the national premiere of the documentary, “The American Nurse,” on May 7 in Silver Spring, MD. The film displayed nurses’ diverse roles as innovators, problem-solvers and caregivers in challenging settings. The American Nurses Foundation (ANF) and health care company Fresenius Kabi USA hosted five screenings of the film to 800 attendees. As well, ANF’s newly expanded Honor a Nurse program launched on April 1 with co-sponsor Wolters Kluwer Health, and, to date, more than 50 nurses have been recognized through donations.
Advocacy and visibility
Nurses at 4,500 sites, some in large groups, participated in the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) National Nurses Week webinar, “Transforming Health Care Through Nursing Leadership.” Nurses tuned in from all 50 states and 19 countries to learn how to apply innovation and leadership skills to their clinical practice. In the media, outreach efforts netted nearly 200 articles that mentioned both ANA and National Nurses Week, including a story in USA Today that highlighted the need to develop the nursing workforce to fill a projected 1.1 million new nursing jobs by 2022.
ANA’s Government Affairs team worked with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), a nurse, to have a congressional resolution (H.R. 540) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to acknowledge nurses’ contributions to patients, communities and the health care system. The resolution supports “the goals and ideals of National Nurses Week” and calls attention to nurses’ roles as patient advocates, leaders in team-based care delivery models, researchers, and public health educators in communities. The resolution also cites the need for increased investment to support nursing workforce development, particularly Title VIII of the federal Public Health Service Act. And, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recognized nurses in her official message, referencing ANA’s theme, Nurses Leading the Way.
At the state level, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation urging all residents to observe National Nurses Week, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker offered a proclamation designating May 8 as Nurse Appreciation Day.
Social media engagement
Nurses actively participated in ANA’s social media channels. During the week, ANA gained 7,000 new followers on Facebook, plus ANA’s Facebook posts reached more than 780,000. President Karen A. Daley’s video message had more than 5,300 views during National Nurses Week.