Though National Nurses Week 2014 ended earlier this week, the jobs nurses do remain important to the health-care field all year long. They care for the sick, the recovering, the newly born and the dying. They support families in need, and they often go without recognition for the essential, behind-the-scenes roles they play.
That’s why Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said he was more than happy to sign a proclamation May 7 to mark Hinesville’s official observance of the week, which ran May 6-12 and was themed “Nurses: Leading the Way.” Following the short afternoon ceremony in the Hinesville room at city hall, Thomas and several nurses in attendance enjoyed snacks, conversation and a few laughs.
Before reading and penning his name to the proclamation, the mayor explained why it’s important to celebrate National Nurses Week.
“I think it’s critically important to celebrate nurses week simply because nurses provide a service for us, for our community, for our nation that no other particular group does. Without the care of nurses and the care that they provide to our citizens, our world would be a much, much worse place. Nurses provide a significant advantage, a significant contribution to our nation as a whole,” Thomas said.
As nurses are used to doing, Brenda Whipple-Jones, nurse manager at Best Care Nursing, arrived early to the event to help set up and ensure everything ran smoothly. She said becoming a nurse had been a dream of hers since she was 6, and after more than 40 years in the industry, she’s still as dedicated as ever. As a self-described compassionate person, she feels the career is a great fit.
“I always feel like you need to help those who can’t help themselves. So, I found my niche, and I love teaching nursing. I love giving back to the community and keeping nursing alive by teaching others,” she said. “I think it’s important to celebrate nurses week because nurses give back so much to those in need, and we’re a vital part of the medical field. We help doctors, we help other nurses and, most of all, we help our clients, our patients. And, we’re just that light … like Florence Nightingale said, ‘We’re that light in the night,’” said Whipple-Jones, who graduated from Albany State University in 1974. In addition to her work at Best Care, she also teaches certified nursing assistant classes at Savannah Technical College’s Liberty campus.
Edna Walthour, Best Care Nursing president and CEO, helped orchestrate the proclamation signing. She, too, has been a nurse for more than 40 years, having started out in 1974.
“I like the fact that nurses make such a tremendous difference in a patient’s life at a most vulnerable time. And nurses are generally people who you can trust, and that’s the type of people you need when patients are most vulnerable. And I think that nurses do it best,” Walthour said. “When we think about nursing and nurses, we think about bedside nursing, but we need to celebrate nursing week to bring awareness to the people that nurses are more than just bedside nurses. They’re very instrumental in rules and laws that regulate nursing as well as research and development that promote and push nursing care forward. It’s very important that we bring some of these things to the awareness of people, because a lot of people tend to think about nurses as just someone to give a shot or someone to move a bedpan, and there’s so much more, although those things are very important.”