National Nurses Day is Monday, May 6. National Nursing Week begins on that day each year and runs through May 12. This year’s theme is “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate” … and counting! This theme refers to the four million nursing professionals in our country.
Historical references indicate nursing predates the mid-19th century, though what their role was at that time isn’t clear. What is clear is that, regardless of when this noble and important profession started, it continues to our current day.
The nursing profession wasn’t initially seen as a “respectable” career for well-bred ladies. In Florence Nightingale’s time, Florence and her nurses directed patient care, scrubbed walls for sanitation, kept windows open for proper ventilation, provided nourishing foods, and ensured medications and treatments were provided efficiently.
Florence was known as the “Lady with the Lamp,” which is a far cry from our current day nursing professionals, who thankfully don’t need to use oil lamps to make their nursing rounds or make their nursing assessment home visits.
Today nurses with broad racial, ethnic, and gender diversity join to offer compassionate services while working collaboratively with a team of other professionals to provide competent and holistic care. Nurses are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Registered Nurses (RN). Some nurses pursue advanced degrees such as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), which include Nurse Practitioners (NP), Certified Nurse Midwifes (CNM), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).
At Aging and Disability Services (ADS), we are thankful to have six of the nation’s four million nursing professionals on our Case Management Program staff. Due to program growth, we are in the process of hiring several additional nursing professionals. Our dedicated nurses consult with social workers and health care professionals on the care and support for medically complex clients who live in their own homes.
Current ADS nurse consultants are Yelena Kritovich, Sucdi Mohamed, and Karine Veliyeva, who work out of Aging and Disability Services’ South County office in Renton, and Carol Furusho, Wyvonne Ray, and Krista Sneller, who work out of the Seattle office.
In addition to ADS nurses, we contract with Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Chinese Information and Services Center, Lifelong, and Neighborhood House for services, and they also employ nurses.
Though nursing roles and functions have changed over the past 23 years since I started working at Aging and Disability Services, the key components of nursing skill and expertise are required now more than ever before. Nursing requires the use of all our senses, and each person we meet is unique, with specific habits, needs, and a right to self-determination.
Please join me in thanking our Aging and Disability Nurses, and any other nurses you know, during National Nursing Week. Truly, they are shining stars.
“Nursing comes in many forms. Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel physically comfortable by various means. Other times it is to improve the body’s ability to achieve or maintain health. But often, it is an uncanny yet well-honed knack to see beyond the obvious and address in some way the deeper needs of the human soul.”
—Donna Wilk Cardillo (A Daybook for Beginning Nurses)
Contributor Mary Pat O’Leary, RN is a planner at Aging and Disability Services—the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County—a division of the Seattle Human Services Department. We thank Mary Pat for her 23 years (and counting!) of dedicated service to our clients and community as an ADS nurse, planner, and manager.