National Nurses Week kicks off on Friday, and the ANA's website includes a long list of ways organizations can celebrate. Among the ideas: holding a special celebration or reception to recognize a nurse or several nurses; placing articles in the local newspaper; inviting a politician to go to work with a nurse for a day; organizing free cholesterol or blood pressure screenings in the community; and hosting a candlelight vigil on National RN Recognition Day on May 6 in honor of nurses.
These are all great ideas. But hospitals shouldn't limit their recognition of nurses to just a single day or week. Nor should they only reach out the press or public or politicians once a year to tout the nurses working in their organization.
Endless debates about reform and the ever-widening gap between affordability and healthcare are making Americans sick of being sick. But through it all, nurses are still loved. Hospitals and other organizations should recognize that nurses are not only some of their best assets; they might also be just the kind of ambassador that this beleaguered industry needs.