Today marks the end of another celebratory and festive Nurses Week. Our theme this week, “Nurses Make a Difference,” has focused on how nurses across all our organizations – IHS, tribes, and urban Indian organizations, other federal agencies, and academic partners – work daily to make a difference in the patient care we give across the Indian health system.
The stories we shared focused on how nurses continuously go above and beyond, administering vaccines and treatments, performing assessments, dressing wounds, and always being the person on the front lines of care.
IHS nursing is excited to build on this week with renewed purpose. We hope to continue discussions to advance nursing within IHS, improve access to continuing education for our nursing workforce, reinforce IHS’ robust public health nurses through grants, and build obstetric and pediatric readiness infrastructure. We will also continue to foster partnerships with tribes, urban Indian organizations, other federal agencies, and academic partners as they are crucial to successfully achieving our mission.
May 12 is International Nurses Day in honor of the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. She first came to prominence when she managed and trained nurses during the Crimean War, helping soldiers but also managing the entire system of care. Even then, nurses wore many hats!
Nurses today are still carrying that tradition, working during life’s most vulnerable moments for patients and their families. The care, steadiness, and strength they provide permeate throughout health care. They are the daily presence at the patient’s bedside. When they are not with their patients, they are organizing all levels of health care administration, management, and leadership.
I remain in awe of the tireless work of our nurses throughout the IHS health care system and the way in which they build themselves to be pillars in their communities. Even when nurses are off duty, they are often the go-to for friends and family, lending a helping hand or empathetic ear or providing specific health care guidance. Nurses are always ready to answer the call.
A special thank you to all of our IHS, tribal, and urban Indian organization nurses as we celebrate the close of this year’s Nurses Week.