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2017: Year of the Healthy Nurse

Newland, Jamesetta A. PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

doi: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000515822.62607.a8
Department: Editor's Memo


We are once again celebrating nurses with National Nurses Day on May 12 and National Nurses Week May 6-12 in the United States and International Nurses Day on May 12 worldwide. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse” and National Nurses Week: Celebrating Nurses Who Lead the Charge for Health and Wellness with a theme of Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has selected Nurses: A Voice to Lead—Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its 2017 theme. The individual themes may not appear to be as in sync with each other as they have been in the past, but the United Nations' SDGs encompass a broad range of global initiatives, and a connection can be found ( The ANA and ICN celebrate nurses as people, leaders, and agents for change in healthcare delivery and outcomes.

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Defining wellness

The ANA theme aligns well with the World Health Organization's definition of wellness: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”1 Healthy individuals translate into healthier communities, and the ICN encourages nurses at all levels to take action toward any of the SDGs.

The focus of the United Nations' SDG 3 (out of 17) is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, specifically in the areas of child health, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other infectious and preventable diseases. Two target outcomes for Goal 3 are to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services and achieve universal health coverage, including affordability and access to quality essential healthcare services, medications, and vaccines for all, by 2030.

In the past, these outcomes may have seemed more removed for Americans; the issues were more relevant in most minds for developing countries. Today, however, threats to stability and continuing progress toward success in both of these areas endanger the health and well-being of targeted and vulnerable populations in our nation.

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A new appreciation for preventive services

A few months ago when the White House introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), many of my patients insured via Medicaid rushed into the office “to get everything done before I lose my insurance.” Even though the ACHA did not become law, my patients are now more receptive to preventive screenings (whereas before, they did not see the need) and are also open to discussions about maximizing services that improve health (such as nutrition counseling, smoking cessation, behavioral health, and pharmacologic interventions for chronic conditions). It is never too late to embrace healthier behaviors, including your own.

Back to celebrating nurses, personally and collectively. My editor's memo last year focused on resiliency in nurses and encouraged everyone to tend to personal caring. Self-care is essential to being able to care for others. When trying to find a balance between mind, body, and spirit in your life, you might be inspired by this quote from Albert Einstein:

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Happy National Nurses Day!



Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP


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1. World Health Organization. Constitution of the World Health Organization. 2006.
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