May 19, 2021
Traditionally, we have celebrated Nurses Week in May with the recognition beginning on Nurses Day, May 6 and concluding on Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12. This year is different as we observe the entire month of May. The World Health Organization (WHO) extended the Year of the Nurse and Midwife into 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many contributions of nurses during this unprecedented global crisis. I cannot help but reflect on this past year and the focus on the nursing profession. It has been year that none of us have ever experienced and hopefully we will not encounter a pandemic such as this in the years ahead. Not only has there been suffering from illness and loss of family and friends, but we have also experienced intense disruption in our country with senseless acts of violence toward others.
There is no doubt the year has been filled with a variety of new experiences for all of you. Over the past month I have had the privilege of speaking with numerous Deans/Directors and faculty in a variety of virtual settings. It is extremely clear you have confronted many unique challenges. I have heard it said that this was a “year of many firsts.” You have been confronted with transitioning to virtual clinical/simulation to lack of student integrity with on-line testing. You have been the sounding board for students and advocating for needed resources. Many times, your own well-being has not been the priority. Additionally, many of you are working in the clinical setting in the role as educator or as a front- line nurse. You have juggled so much. Your dedication has been unwavering as you worked tirelessly to educate the next generation of nurses.
On May 11, the release of the National Academy of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Health Equity will be released. The report will focus on the importance of the nursing profession’s role in assisting the United States to create a culture of health, reduce health disparities, and improve the health and well-being of our communities. I encourage you to register for the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report launch to hear first-hand the recommendations regarding the preparation of nurses to meet the current and future needs of the communities you serve. The report will also consider lessons learned from the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action as well as the role of nursing related to the pandemic.
In closing, I want to recognize your resiliency and commitment to the profession. Your dedication to your programs and empowering your students truly changes lives. Your devotion is a gift to many. As nurse educators you need to be respected and applauded for all you have done.
Thank you for all you do and take some for you!
It is an honor to wish all of you a Happy Nurses Month!
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN, FAAN