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Nurses Month 2021: A Chance to Honor Nursing Colleagues

May 03, 2021

Nurses Month 2021

Long before anyone knew a global pandemic would create upheaval for the entire healthcare community, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. As part of the celebration plans, the American Nurses Association (ANA) decided to turn National Nurses Week, which was annually celebrated from May 6-12, into National Nurses Month.


Then the pandemic hit, the lockdowns began, and May of 2020 found many nurses and other practitioners struggling to simply survive.


With all that has happened in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has extended the Year of the Nurse and Midwife to 2020-2021, and ANA is promoting another month-long tribute to America’s nurses in May of 2021.


But Nurses Month is not just a time for nurses to pat each other on the back. It offers a chance for physicians, advanced practitioners and other staff to honor their teammates, thank them for their selfless work, and cheer them on for the road ahead.


The importance of celebrating nurses—collectively and individually


A month dedicated to recognizing nurses’ contributions is important for individual nurses and for the profession, according to Tony Anno, APRN, ACNP-BC, DNP, CCDS, CEPS, RDCS, FHRS, a faculty member for Walden University’s master of science in nursing nurse practitioner program. 


“Having a month dedicated to celebrating nurses can serve as a morale booster, especially after the challenging past year our profession has endured,” he said.


Nurses Month is also an opportunity to reinforce the importance of the relationship between nurses and physicians and others on the care team, and to educate patients and others about these essential caregivers.


ANA has created a Nurses Month 2021 toolkit with ideas and resources that hospitals, medical practices and other healthcare entities may find useful.


3 quick facts about nurses


  1. Nurses have ranked as the most trusted and honest profession in the United States in Gallup’s annual poll for 19 consecutive years.
  2. International Nurses Day is May 12th, honoring the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing. May 12, 2020 marked the 200th anniversary of her birth.
  3. Nursing offers nearly unlimited opportunities and career options across specialties and work settings, with the latest figures1 showing the United States has:
  • 4,198,031 licensed registered nurses (RNs)
  • 944,813 licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs)

Plus a growing number of advanced practice nurses, with more than:

  • 290,000 nurse practitioners (NPs)
  • 89,000 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs)
  • 41,000 certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs)
  • 7,000 certified nurse midwives (CNMs) 

1Sources: National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) 2020 National Nursing Workforce Study, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Nurses Month in May 2021: A week-by-week focus


Throughout the month of May, healthcare organizations and staff will be focusing on the following themes for Nurses Month:


Self-care (May 1-9). During this week, nurses are encouraged to focus on their emotional, mental and physical well-being. By engaging in healthy activities, they can learn to lower stress levels and improve their long-term health. Prioritizing their own needs will also enable them to keep doing the vital work they do and provide the best patient care.


Recognition (May 10-16). Many hospitals and healthcare organizations will be recognizing their own nurse heroes during this week. They may honor nurses who have won awards, host celebrations or find other ways to recognize nursing staff for their contributions. Nurses are encouraged to raise the visibility of their profession, and those who work alongside nurses are encouraged to let them know how much they are appreciated.


Professional development (May 17-23). This week will focus on the numerous ways that nurses can advance their careers through education, training and certification. Nursing leaders can emphasize the benefits of lifelong learning and provide resources for nurses to pursue, including a growing number of online webinars and courses.


Community engagement (May 24-31). During this week, nurses are encouraged to explore ways that they can give back to their community. Ideas may involve volunteering in a community health center, assisting with COVID vaccination projects, or finding other avenues to use their role model status for good.


Our hats off to nurses


All of us at Merritt Hawkins are pleased to pay tribute to the nation’s nurses during Nurses Month 2021, and throughout the rest of the year. 


Thank you for your professionalism, for your compassionate care and for your dedicated efforts through even the most trying of times. Happy Nurses Month!


Related:


9 Ways Physicians Can Effectively Collaborate with Nurses
5 Things Doctors Can Learn from Nurses

Merritt Hawkins places physicians, advanced practice nurses and other practitioners in fulfilling career opportunities throughout the U.S.


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