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To Nurses Everywhere, We Say Thank You

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During National Nurses Week, we celebrate heroes who bring compassion, competence and courage to their jobs every day and for whom healing us and their communities is a calling.

No wonder Americans, year after year, cite nursing as among the professions they trust the most.

Nurses do so much more than just check vitals and administer shots. With great skill and training, they respond in dire situations, when we are most vulnerable. In an environment where the stakes are high and the margin for error is slim, they excel in the face of pressure and provide the healing touch even when things look grim.

Fair pay, improved safety standards and better staffing ratios helps not just nurses, but the patients they serve. AFSCME’s nurses also fight for a better health care system for us all.

This week, let’s thank a nurse. Let’s recognize their contributions to healing our communities. And let’s honor their sacrifices. 

Here are some nurses who explain how they help their communities:

“I actually chose to work in a community hospital in my hometown rather than a larger city hospital because I like caring for my family and my neighbors, my loved ones and friends. That’s one of the ways I give back. In my community, not only do our nurses do their regular jobs, they serve on advisory boards and participate in charities.”
– Tom Connelly, radiology nurse, Local 2026 (Ohio Council 8)

“Public health nursing is not for everyone. It takes a special kind of nurse to be able to do public health nursing, so we’re a very unique group of people. … We are actually on the ground, in peoples’ homes. We’re experts in communicable diseases and can identify cases faster, maybe at ground zero.”
– Judith Arroyo, public health nurse, president of United Federation of Nurses & Epidemiologists, Local 436 (DC 37

“We serve people from a variety of cultures, a variety of educational levels. We serve not only as their health care providers but sometimes as their families. Sometimes, we can give them support that they otherwise may not have. I like giving quality care to my patients and connecting with them. It’s not just surface level, it’s hopefully connecting with them on a deeper level.”
– Samantha Ciechanowicz, UNAC/UHCP, emergency room nurse, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in San Diego-South Bay, California.

“Working with clients can be very rewarding. The rewarding part is when a client comes in who is very sick and you’re able to help them, and sometime later they’re able to go back into the community. I find that very rewarding.”
– Jackie Spanjers, licensed practical nurse, president of Local 1307 (AFSCME Council 5)