Year after year — 15 in a row, in fact — the American public has responded to Gallup polls by ranking nurses highest in honesty and ethics among a range of professionals. This winning streak for nursing jobs has continued in all but one year since 2000. The exception was in 2001 when firefighters, in their sole appearance on the poll, nudged nurses from the top spot following the attacks of 9/11.

There’s no reason to think nurses, who form the backbone of the American healthcare system, won’t be lauded again as No. 1 in trustworthiness in next year’s Gallup poll. Clearly, the long-standing rating shows that the general public not only recognizes nurses for their credibility, but for their knowledge, expertise, dedication, and compassion as well.

And yet, there’s this funny thing about trust, especially when it endures. It seems the longer we trust something (or someone), the more likely we are to take it (or them) for granted. Consider things you put your faith in — say, running water, or electricity, or nursing care, for that matter. You expect it to always be there for you, no thanks or recognition necessary.

Worse yet, when we take things or people for granted, we tend to undervalue them. Switch & Shift, an award-winning executive consulting firm, described the irony of our habit of lessening the value of things that we actually value highly.

“When we take things for granted,” said a recent article on the firm’s website, “we just get used to them; and when we get used to things, we start to devalue them.”

Unfortunately, despite the public’s high marks for their service, nurses run the risk of being taken for granted. After all, nurses are always there when patients need them — whether that need occurs in an emergency department, doctor’s office, school, long-term care facility, or any of a myriad other healthcare settings. They spend more time with patients than physicians or other members of the healthcare team, and they’re often the first to recognize and respond to patients’ changing conditions. Nurses act as the running water of healthcare — always there, always fulfilling a fundamental need — and often victims of our bad habit of failing to fully appreciate their worth.

That’s why events like National Nurses Week are important. Celebrated each year May 6-12, National Nurses Week honors the vital contributions of nurses to our nation’s health. Weeklong recognition activities are intended to jolt us — the public, local and national leaders, the healthcare industry, and even nurses themselves — from complacency about nurses’ essential role in maintaining our health and well being. National Nurses Week prompts us to recall not just that we trust nurses, but why we place such faith in them. It encourages us to remember how, at one point or another, this always-there-for-us group of knowledgeable, caring professionals has had an impact on our lives. They have helped us to recover from illness or injury, or perhaps even saved our lives or the lives of those we love. We’re reminded to show nurses some love in return, to express our gratitude for their hard work and reaffirm their worth.

A Week of Thanks

Nurses could use the support. Nursing jobs are tough and demanding. Long hours and high stress levels, a career in nursing has become all the more challenging in recent years as a result of employment shortages, medical advances that strain ethical norms, and an aging population that requires more and higher levels of care, among other factors.

Research has long demonstrated that fatigue, stress, and moral distress (making difficult decisions that might conflict with institutional choices) contribute to burnout among nurses. High levels of nurse burnout, in turn, can adversely affect patient outcomes. A growing number of healthcare institutions recognize that the health of patients can rely, at least in part, on the health of their nurses.

Declaring 2017 as “The Year of the Healthy Nurse,” the American Nurses Association will promote the importance of nurses’ well being to the delivery of quality patient care through its National Nurses Week 2017 theme, “Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.”

Eisenhower Medical Center fully supports this effort. In fact, our mission and values demonstrate we’re as invested in the well being of our nurses as we are with our patients. We’re committed to both the professional and personal health of nurses on our team throughout the year; but we’ll take a few extra measures to express our gratitude for the hard work, expertise, and dedication of our nurses during National Nurses Week 2017.

Reflecting the balancing-mind-body-spirit theme, we’ll set up yoga, acupuncture, and massage stations for nurses throughout our organization during the week. Since some well-deserved pampering is also in order, we’ll distribute gift bags for registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses, roll out coffee/snack carts for RNs and LVNs working the night shift in our acute care center, and conduct a special gift drawing.

We’ll keep nurses well equipped with a vendor fair; featuring uniforms, shoes, nursing accessories, and even designer compression hose for the health-and-fashion-conscious.

As part of our commitment to nursing education, schools of nursing will also be present at the vendor fair to answer questions about degree programs. We’ll also host a breakfast for all RNs in our organization to recognize nurses who have taken the extra step in their careers to become certified in their respective specialties.

Another highlight of our National Nurses Week 2017 celebrations: We’ll honor the exceptional nurses on our team with our 2017 Nursing Excellence Awards ceremony.

Yearlong Appreciation

Excellence forms the bedrock of nursing practice at Eisenhower Medical Center’s main Rancho Mirage campus and our many clinics located throughout the Palm Springs area. Our dedication to delivering the highest quality medical and nursing care lies at the center of all that we do.

That commitment was reinforced in 2015 when our nursing team earned the prestigious Magnet® designation, a nationally recognized honor considered the gold standard of nursing care. The Magnet designation demonstrates our strong support for advancing the standards of nursing practice and showcases our respect for nurses and their professional development.

During National Nurses Week, we’re proud to celebrate the superior work of our team of expert nurses; but we don’t consider recognition of nurses a singular occurrence. We’re committed to showcasing performance excellence throughout the year. Our Good to Great and Precious Metals Collection programs recognize entire departments for delivering outstanding patient satisfaction, but we strive to honor excellence in individual performance, as well. Eisenhower Medical Center conducts a number of employee recognition programs, including an annual Longevity Service Award banquet, financial bonuses, monthly birthday celebrations, and our Pat-on-the-Back program, an on-the-spot show of our appreciation for jobs well done.

In addition, our Shining Stars award is presented monthly to individuals in recognition of outstanding performance in the five areas in which Eisenhower has declared its commitment, including clinical excellence, patient safety, courtesy/caring, a healing environment, and efficiency. Eisenhower is also proud to partner with the Daisy Foundation to honor our nurses with the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses. (Please take a moment to read an example of one of our exceptional, above-and-beyond nurses.)

At Eisenhower Medical Center, we trust our nurses to serve as strong advocates for our patients and encourage them to become transformational leaders in the healthcare services we provide. Beyond recognition awards, we express our gratitude to nurses by fostering a supportive, collaborative culture that encourages their professional and personal well being, including our commitment to lifelong learning opportunities and access to personalized wellness activities at our state-of-the-art fitness center.

At our core, we strive to deliver “Healthcare as It Should Be,” and we know we will not accomplish our goal without the dedication, skills, and compassion of the nurses on our team. We’ll never take that for granted.

On behalf of the administrators, physicians, staff, and volunteers of Eisenhower Medical Center, we wish our nurses — and nurses everywhere — a happy National Nurses Week 2017 full of the gratitude and support they so rightly deserve.

Learn more about our commitment to nursing at Eisenhower Medical Center and consider joining our exceptional team.

Originally posted on 20/4/2017

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