party like it’s nurses week

Actually it has been Nurses Week, all week long this week, May 6-12, with the added bonus of a waxing and waning full moon. It’s okay because I really do have the privilege to have the best job ever and with the best scrubs squad ever where we get to be the advocate of the adorable, the bundler of the babies and the healer of the helpless.

It’s the eve of Nurses’ Day, Florence Nightingale’s 197th birthday and I am going to put on my scrubs and party all night like I just drank and entire pot of coffee! Because I have and because I have so much love in the scrubs.

the value of the RN

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away in the late 80s, I had pounded into my brain the value of the RN. The director of the school of nursing at the college I attended was determined that the RNs who graduated from our school would always remember:

  • the nurses role in the health care agenda
  • the fact that nursing still remains the most trusted profession
  • nurses are always there for patients.
  • nurses recognize that patients are more than a set of symptoms that need to be treated
  • nurses help patients navigate the system and understand health needs
  • no one spends more time interacting with patients than nurses
  • nurses are the puzzle solvers and guardians
  • nurses are cost-effective in tough economic times
  • nurses are leaders
  • nurses are role models
  • nurses have many faces
    American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing – Value of the RN

“Always value the RN you sign after your name”, she would exhort us. And I did. I have. Excluding motherhood, my five amazing children and my two perfectly perfect grandchildren, nothing makes me more personally proud of me than the RN I sign after my name. I’m proud because I know how hard I worked to earn that title and because of the countless lives I have cared for and influenced since 1990.

Save one life you’re a hero. Save a hundred lives and you’re a nurse. ~ Unknown

I worked hard, studied hard and continue to always learn as nurses do. I also, every two years, do what is necessary to keep my RN credentials current. Thankfully, the California Board of Registered Nursing sends out a reminder every two years.

Except for this year when they sent out nothing.

Yes, I should have been on top of the fact that my license was due to expire. I wasn’t; as I sometimes have not been in the past. The exact reason why I was thankful for the BRN sending out those reminders to renew your license. But thanks to the BRN’s new, easy BreEZe efficient set up, no renewal reminder was sent out. Of course I didn’t notice.

Take note boys and girls, the very first time you speak to your brand new department manager should not be when she is calling you to inform you that your license is expiring today.

Yeah, that could happen.

Thankfully I renewed my license before the day’s end. But not before a very brief moment of sick panic because, OMG MY NURSING LICENSE!!! Once again I was reminded just how important and valuable that RN is to me.

After I renewed my license, I programmed my personal calendar to remind me every two years because even BrEZe isn’t always so easy-breezy.

But you know what is kind of easy-breezy? These new Cherokee Workwear RN ID scrubs of mine that I picked up thanks to Katie Duke’s inspiration. My gift to me because I am an RN and it is Nurses Week this week.

We like good coffee, something to counteract the way that we abuse our hands because hand washing, hand washing, hand washing, massages, chocolate, but most of all we love when you say “thank you“.


I am a nurse and THIS is my week!


It is. This week is mine and every single nurse out there whom you have the pleasure to know…or perhaps the displeasure, because more often than not when you encounter a nurse, a REAL nurse, not a medical technician in your doctor’s office, you aren’t having much fun and likely not feeling well at all. You are probably scared and in a lot of pain and the last thing you feel like doing is making friends or making small talk with a total stranger wearing scrubs.

photo credit: Jackie Smith Barnard

It’s okay. We understand because, more often than not, we meet this way. You or your loved one is critically ill and we are busy saving you or your loved one’s life. We don’t judge. We do what we do because we care. We care a lot.

I imagine that most of you probably aren’t worrying too much about how we look. I mean you are probably scared and in a lot of pain; or you are stressed and worried about someone you love who is scared, stressed, doesn’t feel well and is in a lot of pain. So in spite of some conclusions drawn from March 2012 study of Patients’ Perception of Patient Care Providers with Tattoos and/or Body Piercings that surveyed only 150 patients in a rural Georgia hospital, you don’t doubt our caring, confidence, reliability, attentiveness, cooperativeness, professionalism, efficiency and approachability. No, I imagine that if you are like me as a patient or the loved one of the patient or like my patients’ families you just want the assurance that I am well trained, educated and good at what I do…being a nurse who does care, is confident, is reliable, is VERY attentive, cooperative, professional, efficient and approachable…in spite of a nurse’s tattoos or piercings or hair color that is not natural.

Yeah, I got a little distracted.


In all seriousness, it is indeed Nurses’ Week today through Florence Nightingale’s 193rd birthday…Yay, Flo!

The point of this week isn’t all about gifts of coffee mugs or badge holders or massages (seriously the BEST nurses’ week gift I ever received…ever!) or dollar store calculators or even free Cinnabons (at a participating Cinnabon near you…the key word is PARTICIPATING Cinnabon). No, it is about you and me taking the time to thank a nurse who might have saved our life or a loved one’s life or who put up with us at our very worst when we were sick or injured. This I try to do. They might not remember me or my family…or perhaps they have chosen to purposely forget me…but I send a simple card reminding them of my hospital visit or my loved one’s and then thanking them for taking such good care of me or my loved one.

Really, that is all most nurses want…just a thank you. Trust me we don’t go into this vocation because we like feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted most of the time or because we relish the long hours and holidays away from our families or because we LOVE bodily fluids that sometimes end up on our scrubs or our shoes and we definitely don’t do what we do for the Cinnabons or the cheap calculators or yet another coffee mug or badge holder or even for the massages…although the massages are super awesome and most definitely appreciated.

Just thank a nurse and tell them that they are awesome because they are!

Also be sure to check out Anna’s week long celebration of Nurses’ Week and for a good laugh, especially if you are a nurse, check out Nurse Eye Roll.

Note: if anyone would like to see the full text of the Journal of Nursing Administration article whose link I shared and not pay the $49 to see it like I had to email me privately.