This week is National Nurses Week, observed each year since 1994 from May 6 through May 12 (honoring the birthday of Florence Nightingale, widely recognized as the founder of modern nursing). In addition, May 8 is designated as National Student Nurses Day, and May 11 is National School Nurse Day.
This year it is more important than ever to recognize nurses in our nation and worldwide as we have entered the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses have experienced immense challenges and traumatic experiences in caring for COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic, and our healthcare system could not have made it this far without them.
Also important to recognize is that trends indicate that the present nursing shortage may only get worse, per a recent Health Affairs piece. In a 2021 survey, 63% of nurse executives said they have seen early career RNs exiting the profession. In a more recent Medscape survey, 40% of RNs said COVID-19 had negatively impacted their career satisfaction, and 15% said they would likely leave the profession within 3 years. Ensuring that nurses have the support of their employers in every facet to do their job well, are compensated well, are highly appreciated and recognized, and continue to be presented with career-advancing opportunities will be vital to sustaining and growing the nursing workforce in the future.
National Nurses Week
A Worrisome Drop in the Number of Young Nurses
The Commonwealth Fund
How the U.S. Could Fix Its Nursing Crisis