Time to say thanks to nurses

Posted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Today through May 12 has been designated National Nurses Week, which gives us time to think about the contributions that nurses make in our communities. Nurses play a special role in our lives, from their encouraging and supportive presence at the birth of our children to the compassionate care given at the end of a loved one's life.

Synonyms for nursing include "nurturing," "taking special care of" and "treating carefully." Nurses are dedicated individuals who provide an essential service to humankind. Choosing to be a nurse means choosing a profession of caring for people, dedicating your life to providing quality health care and promoting wellness for those you serve.

The nursing profession offers an abundance of opportunities. Clinical specialists, nurse practitioners, nursing administrators and nurse educators are just a few examples of the opportunities available in a nursing career. Nurses are found in acute care, in long-term care, in home care, in our physician's offices and in our schools.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for registered nurses will grow faster than the average for all other occupations through 2008. The health care system's increasing demand for front-line primary care, disease prevention and cost efficiency are driving the nation's need for nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and other registered nurses with advanced practice skills.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) provide care in a range of specialty areas, including cardiac, oncology, neonatal and obstetric-gynecological nursing, as well as pediatrics, neurological nursing and psychiatric-mental health. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), more than 30,000 certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are the sole anesthesia providers in approximately one-third of U.S. hospitals and administer more than 65 percent of all anesthetics given to patients each year.

Approximately 6,500 certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) provide obstetrical and gynecological care to low-risk, healthy women. These nurse specialists supervise pregnancies, deliver babies and provide follow-up and postpartum care.

As we reflect on the contributions nurses make in our communities, take a moment to think about a nurse who has played a special role in your life.

You can help us pay tribute to the hundreds of registered nurses on the Kenai Peninsula who provide highly skilled, safe, quality care in so many areas of our lives. If you have a special story or note of thanks about a nurse in our community, please send a letter to David Gilbreath, CEO, Central Peninsula General Hospital, 250 Hospital Place, Soldotna, AK 99669.

On Friday, Central Peninsula General Hospital will host a Nurses Day Tea for the area's registered nurses from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Iliamna Room at the hospital. We would be honored to read or display your stories at the Nurses Day Tea.

Our nurses are there to serve us all year long. Let's take a moment to say thank you for their dedication and their caring.

David D. Gilbreath, who has been a health-care administrator for more than 25 years, is the CEO at Central Peninsula General Hospital.

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