May 9, 2012
I am pleased and proud this week to help our College of Graduate Nursing, and indeed our entire University, celebrate National Nurses Week, which is May 6-12 this year.
During this special week, the American Nurses Association (ANA) puts focus on registered nurses and their contributions to the health care system, not only in clinical care settings, but as leaders in the health professions who will have a profound effect on the quality of care, indeed, the very character of the nation’s health-care system as it undergoes dramatic change.
In 2010, the report "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," offered a kind of blueprint for changes in the nursing professions to meet future health care demands. The report’s recommendations include removing barriers that prevent nurses from practicing to the full scope of their education and training, and ensuring that nurses are full partners with physicians and other health care professionals in a redesigned health care system. The recommendations are in sync with what is happening on our campus, as WesternU’s interprofessional education program brings together students from all of our disciplines – including nursing – in group settings to assess patient cases, make diagnoses, and develop treatment plans.
The ANA notes that in 2011, Americans voted nurses the most trusted profession in America for the 12th time in 13 years in an annual Gallup poll that ranks professions for their honesty and ethical standards. Nurses' honesty and ethics were rated "very high" or "high" by 84 percent of poll respondents.
Some interesting facts from the most recent (2008) U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration's National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses:
- The U.S. has 3.1 million licensed RNs, of whom 2.6 million are actively employed in nursing.
- The profession has grown by 5.3 percent since 2004, a net growth of more than 150,000 RNs.
- Nearly 450,000 RNs, 14.5 percent of the RN population, received their first U.S. license after 2003.
- About 250,000, or 8 percent, of all RNs, are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) — nurses who have met advanced educational and clinical practice guidelines.
WesternU’s College of Graduate Nursing also includes a chapter of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), an organization that mentors students preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses and upholds the professional standards, ethics, and skills so crucial to cultivating new leaders in nursing and in all of the health professions.
CGN’s chapter of the NSNA is holding a fund-raising barbecue from noon to 1 p.m. today in Ethan Allen Park, to support its activities. I hope you will join me in participating in this lunch, and in celebrating not only WesternU’s student nurses, but all nurses across the globe, who work with care, compassion, and skill to comfort the afflicted and improve the quality of life and health for all of their patients.
I leave you with the Florence Nightingale Pledge, created in honor of the founder of modern nursing, whose birthday on May 12 caps National Nurses Week each year:
"I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care."
As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU's Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.
All the best,