NAHC President Shares some of His Favorite Nurses to Kickoff National Nurses’ Week
May 6, 2013 03:55 PM
May 6 – 12 is National Nurses’ Week, an annual celebration of all the hard work and caring support that nurses around the country perform on a daily basis for their patients and their patients’ families.
“Nurses truly are angels of mercy; they make the difference between life and death on a daily basis,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “They operate in that rarified air Michelangelo depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, that millimeter between the hand of God and the hand of man.”
To honor the nation’s nurses during this year’s National Nurses’ Week, Mr. Halamandaris has compiled a list of his favorite nurses from history:
“Florence Nightingale responded in 1837 to what she believed was the voice of God calling her to care for the sick. She professionalized the field of nursing. “Draw near to God, not by rites and ceremonies but by inward disposition ... simply do the thing that is good in itself,” she said.
Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross in America, insisted that the organization be grounded in helping others by fighting “any evil that is adding to the sum of human suffering or diminishing the sum of happiness.”
Lillian Wald, founder of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, organized volunteer nurses to care for immigrants who flooded into the United States at the turn of the 20th century in whatever setting they called home. She is appropriately recognized as the mother of home care in America. “Nursing is love in action, and there is no finer manifestation of this than the care of the ill and disabled in their own homes,” she said.
Annie Wauneka was the first woman to become chief of the Navajo. She worked tirelessly to improve health care on reservations and succeeded in getting the Navajo to accept Western as well as traditional medicines. She is credited with virtually wiping out tuberculosis among the tribe. “If something is not right, you must do something about it,” Ms. Wauneka espoused.
Mother Teresa, though not an officially certified nurse, completes my personal pantheon. She told me how she’d been comfortable in a Calcutta convent teaching English and other languages to well-to-do Indian students when she felt called by God to create a religious order to care for the sick and dying wherever they called home. After receiving permission from the Pope, she sought instruction from nurses who were Catholic sisters. “I then returned to Calcutta to open my own hospice and home care organization. We are in the same business,” she said. ‘I am a home care and hospice nurse.’”
NAHC encourages all of its members to take the opportunity this week to say “thank you” to all the nurses in their lives - and to recognize all of the tireless work that they perform for home care and hospice patients.