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Posted at 04:42 PM ET, 05/12/2011

Thanks to Florence Nightingales on International Nurses Day


Nurse Sarah Hollingsworth gives a tetanus shot to a first responder in tornado-damaged Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Dave Martin/AP)
Nurses take care of the sick, comfort the dying and regularly soothe my obsessive hypochondria. Today, however, is their day.

International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in the nursing field. The day concludes National Nurses Week, which honors a profession that after years of shortages is starting to make a national comeback. The health care sector, unlike many others, is adding jobs, including 37,000 in April.

For the 11th year in a row, nurses topped Gallup’s 2010 most trusted profession poll, with 81 percent of people saying nurses have high or very high ethical and honesty standards. For the record, newspaper reporters only scored 22 percent in that category.

I come from a family of nurses — my grandmother, aunt and (student nurse) sister — so maybe that’s why Johnson and Johnson’s “Campaign for Nursing’s Future” ads, which began airing this month, never fail to make me emotional. (In the biggest tear-jerker, a male nurse administers medicine to a sick child as they sing the “Name Game” song. Get some tissues, and watch the videos below.)

Andrea Higham, the campaign’s director, said the ads used real nurses, not actors, making the scenes more authentic. Higham echoed a sentiment shared by many, saying that nurses have a unique quality beyond their medical skills and knowledge. “They also have the necessary care and compassion that helps the patient through whatever the situation is,” she said.

This week also honors the nurses serving overseas who care, not only for U.S. soldiers, but for civilians hurt during combat. These men and women risk their lives to help others. In April, Army nurse Capt. Josh McClimans was killed near Kabul, Afghanistan, while on his way to the hospital where he served.

Today, I want to thank all of the nurses in my life for sharing their super human powers of healing. Tell us of the nurses in your life in the comments section.

Read more:

The history of nurses’s week

By  |  04:42 PM ET, 05/12/2011

 
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