National Nurses Week — what is it about?


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Do we really need a National Week to celebrate who we are and our work? Nurses seem to be torn on this matter. In one way, it is nice to be recognized (officially) for the work we do. On the other hand, is it a way of appeasing nurses so they won’t be so difficult for administration to deal with them? Some nurses feel that a recognition day or week is insulting – what about the other 51 weeks of the year?

What gets to them, I believe, is many facilities take this week to throw trinkets at the nurses, a few pens, a breakfast, maybe a vase of flowers at the desk. Of course, some facilities do much more elaborate things too. And, no matter how inexpensive or cheap a gift is, isn’t a gift a gift? I’m not so sure.

I’ve heard people comparing Nurse Appreciation Week to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Is this a fair comparison? Maybe not. Other than Administrative Assistant week (what used to be Secretary’s Day) or Teacher’s Appreciation week, there doesn’t seem to be any other type of [insert profession here] Week. And, if you look at it, admin assistants, nurses, and teachers generally tend to be women. When was the last time you heard about Mechanical Engineer Week? Urban Planner Week? Plumber Week?

Whatever side of the argument you’re on, it doesn’t take much to appreciate a nurse. A smile, a thank you. A sincere appreciation of what it is nurses do to help people. That’s from the general public. From the admins? More appreciation and understanding of what we do. Nix the stupid rules that some facilities have that do nothing more than foster hard feelings. Pay the nurses more. Hospitals say they don’t have more money to spend, but how many of us have seen money spent on events, items, and issues that really could have been done without?

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Marijke Durning
Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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