A nurse is usually the first contact a patient has when visiting a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital, and area health officials are honoring their service this week.
National Nurses Week, May 6-12, focuses attention on the diverse ways America’s 3.1 million registered nurses work to save lives and to improve the health of millions of individuals.
According to the Cherokee County Health Department, there are approximately 30,000 registered nurses and 12,000 licensed practical nurses working in Oklahoma.
“Public health nurses help ‘Shape Our Future’ by providing health department services such as child and adult immunizations, preventive health screenings, nutrition education, child guidance services, disease and injury prevention, services to mothers and babies, emergaency preparedness and school health education,” said CCHD Administrative Director Maria Alexander.
Annually, National Nurses Week begins May 6, marked as Registered Nurses Recognition Day, and ends May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, found of nursing as a modern profession.
The Cherokee County Health Department encourages employers in the area to also use this week as an opportunity to recognize nurse employees through programs and events.
“We would like the public to join s as we pay tribute to our nurses for a job well done,” said Alexander.
Public health nurses employed at CCHD include Sheree Caldwell, advance practice registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner; Jill Crawford, R.N.; Tamarkia Fisher, R.N.; Keri Ratliff, R.N. coordinating nurse; Donna Jones, R.N.; and Kelly Parker, R.N.
Dr. James Madison, chief of staff at Tahlequah City Hospital, said he relies on the hospital’s nursing staff to provide dedicated care to patients.
“Nurses Week is an opportunity to honor the backbone of healthcare in America,” said Madison. “Nurses are compassionate, caring individuals who provide the professional support for people when they need it the most. Physicians will readily admit their reliance on nurses as professional partners in the care of their patients. I am very grateful for the opportunity to recognize these outstanding individuals. I personally want to acknowledge and thank the nurses I rely on every day for their dedication and care of our patients.”
TCH Vice President of Patient Care Donna Dallis, who is also a registered nurse, said people who work in her profession honestly care about people.
“TCH is privileged to have some of the finest nurses caring for the patients in Green Country,” said Dallis. “Because Tahlequah is a close-knit community, we know we are caring for our family and friends. At TCH, you aren’t treated as a stranger; you’re treated as a friend. We truly care about the health of you and your family. Each nurse is invested in the healthcare of their patients.
TCH board member Carol Choate believes providing quality care to residents is of paramount importance.
“Each nurse is the vessel in which this idea is put into action,” said Choate. “TCH offers a variety of services with excellence so patients can receive their care close to home.”
This year, the American Nurses Association has selected “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring” as the theme for the 2012 recognition celebration.
As part of this year’s observance, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Terry Cline and OSDH Chief of Nursing Diana Schaeffer recognize Oklahoma’s nurses for their role in the health delivery system in Oklahoma.
“Regardless of the nursing specialty they chose, we want to thank all nurses for their contributions to the health care system,” said Schaeffer. “We encourage others to consider the nursing profession as a career choice. Nursing is consistently rated the most trusted profession.”
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