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Every day, nurses step forward embracing new technologies, resolving emerging issues, and accepting ever-changing roles in their profession. They lead the way for their patients, colleagues, organizations, and the health care industry as a whole.
Patients often recognize that a nurse is the health care professional with whom they and their families have the most direct contact. But they might not realize that nurses also are leaders in improving the quality of care and expanding access to care. That’s why May 6-12 is celebrated as National Nurses Week, an annual opportunity for communities to recognize the full range of nurses’ contributions.
This year’s theme, “Nurses: Leading the Way,” recognizes nurses as leaders at the bedside, in the boardroom, throughout communities and in the halls of government. The public holds nurses in high regard and trusts them to advocate for patients. For the past 12 years, the public has ranked nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics in an annual Gallup survey.
Beginning with National Nurses Day on May 6, nurses are being honored as leaders who improve the quality of health care. Nurses practice in diverse roles, such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers.
“All nurses are leaders, whether they are in direct patient care, administrative roles, or meeting consumers’ needs in new roles such as care coordinators or wellness coaches,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This week, we acknowledge nurses’ vast contributions and how they are leading the way in improving health care and ultimately, the health of the nation.”
Nurses are leading initiatives to increase access to care and improve outcomes by focusing on primary care, prevention, wellness, chronic disease management and the coordination of care among health care providers and settings. These are areas in which nurses excel given their education and experience.
As the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, nurses will be more crucial than ever, leading efforts to expand primary care at community-based clinics and deliver more efficient and cost-effective care as members of collaborative health care teams. Consider that:
Wherever health care is provided, a nurse is likely to be there- hospitals, ambulatory care centers, private practices, retail and urgent care clinics, nurse-managed health centers, homes, schools, nursing homes, and public and nonprofit agencies. Increasingly, nurses with advanced degrees, such as nurse practitioners, are providing primary care services and managing chronic illnesses
ANA American Nurses Association 2014