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Victoria, ER Nurse

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Having the Courage to Care

Celebrating National Nurses Week – May 6-12, 2023

Nursing is a profession where the primary focus is caring for others. What a humbling thought to know that these people chose their career in order to help others. Nurses are there for patients when they need it the most, and dedicate their time to improving our health. More than ever, the importance of nurses is insurmountable. What is the history of Nurses Week? And how can we celebrate the special people who provide nurturing care even during the most trying of circumstances?

What to Know:

National Nurses Week celebrates the work of nurses and starts each year on May 6 and ends on May 12 — which is Florence Nightingale's birthday. Florence Nightingale, a.k.a “The Lady with the Lamp” was a British nurse, social reformer and statistician known for being the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale established St. Thomas’s Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1860 and improved the quality of patient care into the 19th and 20th centuries.

History of Nurses Week:

Here are some key points on the history of National Nurses Week:

1953 – Dorothy Sutherland, an employee of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, proposed establishing a “Nurse Day” to President Eisenhower.

1954 – The first Nurses Week was celebrated from October 11th – 16th to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. A bill for a National Nurses Week was introduced to Congress, but no action was taken.

1974 – President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation establishing a week in May to be celebrated as “National Nurse Week.”

1982 – President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 6, 1982, to be “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”

1993 – The American Nurses Association Board of Directors declared May 6th – 12th as National Nurses Week for 1994 and all subsequent years. (

Dedicated, Resilient, Strong

Those are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing nurses. Two years ago, Nurses Week coincided with the release of the National Academy of Medicine’s report titled “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Health Equity.” The report addresses the challenges that the nursing profession faces in this decade. Some excerpts from the study can be read below. 

“Nurses’ health and well-being are affected by the demands of their workplace. Nurses often manage unrealistic workloads; insufficient resources; risk of infection; stigma directed at healthcare workers; and the mental, emotional, and moral burdens of caring for patients with a new and unpredictable disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly revealed the challenges nurses face every day, and has added significant new challenges.” (National Academy of Medicine)

Nurses are problem-solving, compassionate people who engage and connect with people, communities, and organizations to help people through challenging times like being in the hospital or navigating a health journey. With the challenges they face every day, we can be reminded that nurses should be appreciated all year long. It may be their day-to-day job, but they are making a huge impact daily.

From the Heart:

Lake Murray Lifestyle got the pleasure of speaking with several local area nurses about what the profession means to them. We asked what brought them into the career of nursing and to give us a little bit of insight into their day-to-day shifts. We appreciate the time we got to speak to these incredible nurses and it inspires us to show appreciation as often as we can.

Victoria, a Lake Murray native and USC grad, is an Emergency Medicine nurse at a trauma center, who wanted to become a nurse because of her love for medicine and helping people. She thrives in the fast-paced environment and loves working on a team with a common goal. Victoria recognizes that being in the hospital is not an ideal experience so she dedicates her time towards making the patient feel more comfortable. Victoria said, “The hardest part is coming home wishing I had more hours in the day. A lot of times, I leave wishing I had more time with a patient or family member who really needed it.” Victoria shared that appreciation does not need to be in material things, it can simply be showing kindness to your nurse. They are often understaffed, but doing their best to accommodate everyone and prioritize care. 

We also got to speak with Mary who was born and raised in Columbia. Her background is in the ER and she knew from high school that she was interested in combining her love of sciences and helping others. She also felt that nursing provided her the flexibility to do what she loves all while having a family. Although working in the ER has many challenges, Mary finds it very rewarding to be the person taking care of people in some of their most vulnerable moments. Mary said, “No one wakes up thinking they will end up in the ER or trauma unit that day, so being part of the team that helped care for them, and in some cases saved their life, was something I never took lightly.” She shared that it's important to understand that most nurses are genuinely trying their best, and working their fastest for you. A simple "thank you for the care you've provided" goes a long way. 

We also had the pleasure of connecting with Lu, a Urology Nurse Navigator. Many years into her career, she was on a float pool that required her to work in different areas of the hospital where there was a need. This is where she found her place. She worked on an oncology floor that truly tugged at her heart. When she found her current position, she got to continue working with cancer patients, just in a different way. Lu shared that the hardest part about her job is giving patients their cancer diagnosis, but it is her job to help patients and their families navigate that challenging journey. Lu recalls a meaningful time when a family wrote a letter to hospital administration regarding the level of care their family member received. That letter resulted in Lu being awarded the Daisy award, which is an international recognition for nurses.

What Can We Do?

Nurses deserve more appreciation than we can express. Whether it is a little thing or a big thing, rest assured knowing the nurses in your life will appreciate any gesture. Knowing that you took the time from your busy day to honor and recognize their hard work is so meaningful. Next time you find yourself in need of care, remind yourself to be patient and kind. Showing kindness makes a real difference in the day of a nurse. 

If you are looking for some creative ways to show your appreciation, consider the list below:

  • Send a text or phone call to a friend or family member that is a nurse.

  • Write a handwritten note for one of your nurses.

  • Leave a goody bag or gift basket at the nurses’ station.

  • Provide a caffeine pick-me-up.

  • Deliver snacks or lunch.

  • Spread awareness on social media to encourage others to join in on the appreciation.

  • Most of all, show patience and understanding.

“I often leave shift wishing I had more time with a patient or family member who really needed it.”

  • Mary, ER Nurse
  • Victoria, ER Nurse
  • Lu, Nurse Navigator