Today (May 6) is National Nurses Day, and there are far more than just four reasons to celebrate the nearly 4 million registered nurses in our country. Nursing is a career field that’s rapidly growing in popularity—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the RN profession will grow by 12% from 2012-28, adding thousands of jobs.
And of course, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the United States, the demand for nurses has never been higher. We’ve been amazed to see the sheer number of nurses stepping up to the plate and bravely standing on the frontlines against coronavirus. Some nurses are even coming out of retirement to help fight the virus, while current nursing students are actively stepping up, requesting emergency nursing licenses so that they can do their part to combat coronavirus.
Nursing is an absolutely essential career: nurses help to hold up our healthcare system and the thousands of healthcare organizations they work in. They deal day-in and day-out with us when we’re at our worst—sick and tired and often fed up with the healthcare system. They take our blood pressure, give us our medication, and check-in on us when we’re in the hospital as they make their rounds. They walk nearly 5 miles a day going back and forth between patients! Nurses do all this while still treating patients with kindness, compassion, and grace.
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Here are four reasons why we at Luma Health truly believe that nurses are heroes.
1. They’re integral to the battle against COVID-19.
Every day, while most Americans are staying home, nurses are working around the clock to keep us healthy — and we are so grateful for everything that they have been doing. However, nurses haven’t been receiving the support they deserve. Many nurses still don’t have access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), making it difficult for them to perform their job safely. Most states are also failing to take appropriate measures, such as allowing nurses to stay in hotel rooms or subsidizing their childcare costs, to keep nurses’ families safe.
Let’s make sure that we are advocating for nurses during this time. We should be coming together to support nurses’ needs and to show them compassion in any way we can. We love the way that people across the country have been clapping and making noise for healthcare workers once they leave work. A little bit of kindness can truly go a long way in these chaotic, stressful times.
2. We trust nurses more than any other profession.
When Americans are asked who they trust the most, nurses consistently make the top of the list. For the past 18 consecutive years, we have rated them more highly than doctors, clergy, professors, and countless other professions for their honesty and ethical standards. Nurses’ value truly can’t be overstated.
3. Patient experience and quality of care depends on nurses.
Without nurses, patients’ quality of care would drastically suffer. It’s not surprising that more nurse staffing hours has been scientifically linked to patient satisfaction. Like doctors, however, nurse burnout is on the rise. Nearly 1 in 4 nurses report feeling overworked — and that’s from before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which has required most nurses to work even longer and even harder, causing increased feelings of stress and burnout. One in 7 nurses do not enjoy their job anymore, spend too much time on paperwork, and, as a result, do not spend enough time with patients.
We know that when nurses can dedicate their time to providing direct patient care, it can make all the difference for the patients receiving care. To make that possible, technology and healthcare information systems should support them without getting in the way of what matters most. When that happens, the impact is huge. The patient’s quality of life and the health of the organization delivering care improve in tandem.
Today, as the healthcare system is turned upside down by the spread of COVID-19, nurses are absolutely critical to preserving the patient experience. For patients isolated in the hospital, unable to receive visitors due to strict quarantine orders, nurses are often the only people who can bring them the comfort of human company. The stories coming out of hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic have been devastating, but there have also been inspirational stories proving that nurses are heroes. One ICU nurse in New York City makes a point of singing to her patients, recognizing that in the absence of patients’ families, she is their family now. These touching moments of humanity again show the importance of nurses and remind us that we should be eternally grateful for nurses.
4. Nurses know what’s important.
While health systems have been gradually introducing new technologies to their workflows, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the rate at which systems need to adopt technology to keep up with the times. For example, telehealth has become a key solution for healthcare clinics seeking to maintain revenue and continue delivering patient care while respecting shelter-in-place orders, and the adoption of telehealth has been rapid.
Nurses know that in the years to come, technology is going to play an increasingly important role in healthcare. This will help the industry produce greater value and keep patients healthy and happy — they know this role goes far beyond the electronic health record. They see the need for continuous education for all healthcare staff to adapt to this new paradigm; what’s more, they understand that education will help workers leverage technology and health data to move the needle on quality improvement.
Nearly all registered nurses know that offering this type of training can have a real impact on the quality of care patients receive. And half of nurses see their individual roles gradually changing to take on a greater role with healthcare information systems.
While they welcome the role of technology in healthcare, they also know that “compassion, empathy, and support” are the most important. Their primary priority is always displaying kindness and understanding in every patient interaction.
We’re so grateful for nurses.
Thank you, nurses, for all you do! Spread the love for nurses by celebrating National Nurses Day at your organization. This entire year has been designated by the World Health Organization as the “Year of the Nurse,” so let’s make sure that every nurse knows how valued they are. Now more than ever, we need to be supporting nurses and advocating for their safety. Nurses have always been, and will continue to be, crucial to our well-being — let’s take a few minutes today to truly acknowledge how important they are.