National Nurses Week is a yearly event to honor and celebrate our nurses. It was originally celebrated in October, 1954 to recognize the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Nightingale is considered the founder of nursing. In 1990 the American Nurses Association expanded it into a yearly national event, and it now takes place between May 6 and May 12 each year – the week of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year, Nurses Week 2014 is celebrating the 160th anniversary.
The modern purpose of Nurses Week is to recognize and appreciate the contributions that nurses make within their communities. It is the biggest health care event in the U.S., and celebrations are organized throughout the nation to recognize and honor the 2.7 million registered nurses, 1.4 million nursing assistants, and 740,000 licensed and vocational nurses, and the indispensable work they do.
The number of nurses in our nation is already impressive, but their numbers are projected to further rise in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be 3.2 million registered nurses, 1.8 million nursing assistants, and 921,300 licensed and vocational nurses by 2022.
Nurses Week Celebration & Events
Many health care organizations celebrate National Nurses Week. The American Nurses Association is holding a free webinar titled, Transforming Health Care Through Nursing Leadership on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, to explore and discuss the professional and personal attributes needed to lead the way in transforming health care.
Hospitals, clinics, hospices and private practices will be celebrating Nurses Week and honoring nurses in various ways. Why not join in? If you know someone who works as a nurse, take a moment to let them know you appreciate their work and dedication. If you are a nurse, reading this post – thank you for all that you do! We hope you have a wonderful week of celebration and appreciation.
High Demand For Qualified Nurses
Due to growing demand, the health care industry is expanding quickly. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing is one of the fastest growing positions in health care. Unfortunately, supply does not currently meet the demand. Many organizations, such as hospitals and hospices, are lacking qualified and experienced registered nurses.
Hot Nursing Careers
A career in nursing not only offers stability, but opens the door to more advanced positions and certifications.
Registered nursing encompasses some of the most popular careers in the nursing and health care industry, with projected growth skyrocketing in the coming years.
In order to become a registered nurse, one needs to earn at least an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which is a two-year degree offered by many colleges and hospital-based schools of nursing. Another educational option is to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which is a four-year degree offered at most colleges and universities.
Here are some of the most in demand positions for registered nurses.
- Nurse Practitioner: To become a nurse practitioner you must complete advanced clinical education beyond what is required of generalist registered nurses. A nurse practitioner’s work often involves managing medical conditions and ordering diagnostic tests.
- Physician’s Assistant: Physician assistants are health care professionals that often work as part of a team with physicians. They are licensed to do physical exams, diagnose illnesses and prescribe medication.
- Nurse Educators: A nurse educator teaches and instructs prospective registered nurses for entry into practice. They can teach in a multitude of care settings and even provide continued education to nursing staff.
- Case Manager / Utilization Review: Utilization review nurses mostly work behind the scenes to help manage the quality and cost of care services. Their role is to review and audit patients and their situations to ensure patients are getting the help they need without burdening the health care system with excessive or nonessential procedures.
- Critical Care – ICU / CCU / PACU: Critical care nursing is an exciting position that focusses on the care of critically ill patients. Critical care nurses mostly work in fast-paced environments such as emergency room and intensive care units.
- Occupational Nursing: Occupational health nurses mostly work with community groups and worker populations where they deliver health and safety programs and services. Occupational nurses have a strong focus on prevention of injuries and work-related illnesses and hazards.
- Internal Medicine Private Office Specialties / OB/GYN / Pediatric / Oncology:Nurses working in OB/GYN , pediatric and oncology fields are advanced registered nurses who provide direct care to patients in those departments. They often work in hospitals and outpatient clinics.
- School Nursing: School nurses are specialized in the well-being and success of students. They promote a healthy and safe school environment and ambience. They also help and collaborate with students regarding potential health issues.
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Licensed Vocational Nursing & Nursing Assistants
Licensed practical and vocational nurses as well as nursing assistants often work under the direction of registered nurses or physicians. Licensed vocational nurses must complete a state-approved educational program, which usually takes one year. To become a licensed nurse, one must be accredited. The most respected programs at community colleges and universities are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Nurses looking to become licensed are required to pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam to get their license, and licenses need to be renewed periodically and often require proof of active nursing practice.
- Long Term Care: Long term care nursing is a specialty in its own right. Long term care nurses’ work involves helping patients that need extended care or are dealing with disabilities. On top of putting their nursing skills to the service of patients, they also coordinate the care of patients and provide much needed physical and psychosocial support.
- Private Physician Offices: Nurses can also find a position at a specialized physician’s private office. This includes pediatricians, dentists, optometrists and many other specialized physicians.
The Importance of Nursing
In the span of their career, most nurses will have worked in a myriad of fields related to their certifications and level of education. Nurses are and most likely will always be in high demand. The work they do along with the value they provide to the world and their own communities is of utmost importance. It’s no wonder nursing is such an increasingly popular career path.
If you work with or know a nurse, make sure you tell them how much you appreciate their dedication this week – and throughout the year. Consider dedicating some time to show your appreciation for the nurses you know or work with by distributing gifts, setting up a breakfast or brunch, or even organizing a fundraiser to help a non-profit organization associated with nursing.