Nurses were voted the most ethical and trusted profession again in 2018 for the 17th year in a row. Our presence makes a powerful statement to our patients, their families, and the community. The National Nurses Week 2019 theme “4 million reasons to celebrate” reflects our instrumental role in American healthcare.
This issue's Nurses Week special highlights several aspects of the nursing experience. We're often our patients' advocates, and this advocacy can extend to public, health, and social policies. By telling your story, you can affect change for the nursing profession and our vulnerable patient populations, see page 42. As nurses, we refine our skills each day with the common goal of helping each patient we encounter. By utilizing quality improvement tools, you can identify problems, initiate improvement strategies, and measure outcomes, see page 47. Sometimes the pressures of our healthcare environment can lead to compassion fatigue. By knowing how to recognize compassion fatigue in yourself and your colleagues, you can take steps to decrease its occurrence and mitigate its effect on patients, see page 52. As nursing has become more specialized, certification is a formal path to validating our skills and knowledge in our area of expertise. By becoming certified in your specialty, you can contribute to organizational and professional excellence, see page 56.
You may think that your contributions go unrecognized, but your efforts are seen—this is why nursing has remained the most trusted profession. You're brave when your patient is afraid and calm when he or she is anxious. You're present with the patient who must decide about life-prolonging therapy, and you're there with the family member who must say goodbye to his or her loved one whose life can't be saved. Your impact is enormous and nothing short of inspiring. Each patient encounter has a ripple effect because of your presence and actions.
I want to take this moment to recognize each nurse working in myriad specialty areas, such as home health, hospice, long-term care, surgical services, oncology, rehabilitation, emergency, and critical care, just to name a few. Because of you, I'm proud to call myself a nurse. Thank you for being a hero every day.