This year, National Nurses Week, traditionally celebrated from May 6 to May 12 each year, is a month-long celebration to expand opportunities to elevate and celebrate nursing. There couldn’t be a more fitting time to show our gratitude for the men and women who have been on the front lines, working tirelessly to care for their patients.
Why Nurses Are So Important
The role of nurses in healthcare has changed dramatically over the year. Decades ago nurses were perceived as merely assistants to physicians. Today nurses have more responsibility and autonomy and perform their job in collaboration with physicians. This collaboration works to the physicians benefit as well. According to a study done by Pew Research Center, only about one-third of Americans have a great deal of trust in their physician. However, according to a national Gallup poll, 82% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “high” or “very high.”
The difference in those numbers is astounding but not surprising. The key reason nurses are trusted more than physicians is that they spend the most time with patients. Physicians have an immense amount of job requirements that are performed on behalf of a patient but not in direct contact of that patient. These requirements from excessively detailed documentation, medical record updates and medication ordering, just to name a few. Physicians simply aren’t able to spend as much time in direct contact with patients as nurses. That is why collaboration between these two professions is so important. Nurses are in constant contact with patients, cleaning wounds, providing food, administering medications and advocating on the patient’s behalf. This is why nurses are seen as the most compassionate people in the healthcare system.
Facts About Nursing
As you can imagine, nurses has become a very in-demand job. Nurses account for the largest sector of the healthcare workforce. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), there were more than 20 million nurses worldwide and over 4 million in the United States in 2020. Here are some interesting facts about nursing and the healthcare industry in the United States:
- The federal government projects that more than 200,000 new registered nurse positions will be created each year from 2016-2026.
- Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
- Most healthcare services involve some form of care by nurses. Registered nurses are in high demand in both acute care and community settings, including private practices, health maintenance organizations, public health agencies, primary care clinics, home health care, nursing homes, minute clinics, outpatient surgicenters, nursing school-operated clinics, insurance and managed care companies, schools, mental health agencies, hospices, the military, industry, nursing education, and healthcare research.
- Though often working collaboratively, nursing does not “assist” medicine or other fields. Nursing operates independent of, not auxiliary to, medicine and other disciplines. Nurses’ roles range from direct patient care and case management to establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex nursing care systems.
- With more than three times as many RNs in the United States as physicians, nursing delivers an extended array of healthcare services, including primary and preventive care by nurse practitioners with specialized education in such areas as pediatrics, family health, women’s health, and gerontological care. Nursing’s scope also includes services by certified nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists, as well as care in cardiac, oncology, neonatal, neurological, and obstetric/gynecological nursing and other advanced clinical specialties.
Facts provided by American Association of Colleges of Nursing
We Celebrate Nurses
Thank you to all the nurses for your work in the pursuit of compassion and care for patients. Nurses are so important to our communities. They promote healthy lifestyles, advocate for patients and provide health education. As crucial members of our healthcare team, nurses provide communities with the knowledge needed for healthy living. As we continue to reach new milestones with the COVID-19 pandemic, our healthcare workers continue to work tirelessly on the front lines. We are forever indebted to you. You are heroes.