National Nurses Week 2017: Focusing on the Selfless Work of Nurses

by / Monday, 08 May 2017 / Published in Nursing Education
National Nurses Week

“Bound by paperwork, short on hands, sleep, and energy…nurses are rarely short on caring.”Sharon Hudacek, EdD, RN, ACNS-BC

Nurses are arguably the hardest working individuals, coordinating and providing patient care in fast-paced shifts that often exceed twelve hours and don’t provide much down time. Yet their innate sense of compassion allows them to put aside their needs to ensure that patient care comes first. In 1991, to recognize the selfless commitment of nurses, the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated May 6 – 12 as National Nurses Week.

Honoring the Pioneer of Modern Nursing

Every year, this weeklong celebration of nursing coincides with International Nurses Day (May 12), in honor of Florence Nightingale who is considered the pioneer of modern nursing. Nightingale exemplified nurses’ unique combination of dedication and compassion when she and her corps of three dozen nurses tirelessly cared for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War in 1854. Upon leaving Crimea in 1856, Nightingale established a school for nurses and developed concepts and methods to ensure proper patient care, which were later documented in her book, Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not. Over a century later, nurses still follow policies that were built on the foundations that Nightingale laid.

Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit

Being a nurse often requires physical, mental, and emotional strength. In recognition of this, the ANA chose Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit as the theme of this year’s National Nurses Week. This theme highlights the importance of nurses’ health and well-being. Although nurses spend much of their time caring for patients, it’s important for them to take care of themselves as well.

We asked a few of our nursing partners to share their words of wisdom on finding a healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit. Here’s what they had to say:

"Nursing is not just an art, it has a heart."

Lorina Marshall-Blake, President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation

"Heave a heart that never hardens! A temper that never tires! A touch that never hurts!"

Tracey Carter, Manager, Case Management, Independence Blue Cross

"Taking time for yourself is critical in finding balance in your life!"

Diana Lehman, Director, Case & Condition Management, Independence Blue Cross

"Think 'bubbles' when the day gets crazy. Take a breath, blowout, and breathe.

Tonya Lighter, Manager, Case Management, Independence Blue Cross

You are kind to others — don't forget to be kind to yourself!"

Sara Fritz, Director, Customer & Provider Engagement, Independence Blue Cross

"1.) Live a salubrious lifestyle. 2.) Play, laugh and discover joy in life. 3.) Live in harmony."

Roberta Waite, Professor and Assistant Dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, School of Nursing, Drexel University

"Teaching nurses to prioritize caring for themselves allows them to best care for their patients."

Jennifer Specht, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Widener University

"Exercise! Find an exercise you enjoy and start doing it regularly."

Cheryl McGurk, Care Management Coordination, Independence Blue Cross

"Early to bed, early to rise...sleep!"

Antonia Villarruel, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania

To all the nurses out there, what do you do to achieve a balance of mind, body and spirit? Tweet @ibxfdn using #HealthyNurse to share.


Zaynah Henry
Zaynah joined the Independence Blue Cross Foundation in 2016. In her current role as a program specialist, she is responsible for managing the Foundation’s Bolstering the Healthcare Workforce initiative, which supports the education and professional development of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral nursing students in the region. Zaynah previously worked as a health communications fellow for the President’s Cancer Panel at the National Cancer Institute, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Behavior Science and Master of Science degree in Health Promotion from the University of Delaware.

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