Today is the start of National Nurses Week, which is a perfect time for all of us to recognize the tremendous impact nurses have on the overall health of our communities.
Modern nursing traces its roots back to Florence Nightingale’s efforts to improve hygienic conditions during the Crimean War. Civil War veterans often referred to nurses as the Angels of the Battlefield. These early nurses drove efforts to improve the quality of care their patient’s received, and were critical to the development of healthcare as it exists today.
For many of us our first interactions with a healthcare provider was in the form of a school nurse. These nurses took care of our scrapes and bruises from the playground, helped us feel better when we had a stomach ache or a cold, and taught us the things we can do to be healthy. When you think back to every time you needed medical care, a nurse will be the common factor in those memories.
At ADHS we are privileged to work with several outstanding nurses. Many work at the Arizona State Hospital to help care for some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens. Our nurses also work as part of our teams that investigate disease outbreaks, license healthcare facilities, and promote services for Arizona women and children. I want to thank all of our public health nurses for their passion and dedication to the health and safety of everyone in Arizona. Please take time this week to thank our public health nurses.
Although I appreciate the recognition of nurses, the missing images of psychiatric care is disappointing. During both Nurses and Hospital weeks there is not a single image of nurses caring for psychiatric patients. The exclusion of such images not only silences mental illness but also neglects to recognize psychiatric care. The nation’s movement toward integrated models of care should be represented in articles and images about nursing, hospital, rehabilitation, hospice, and so on. Using only medical model care images dilutes any representation of transforming patient care.
Also the use of language such as “front-line” is inappropriate in health care environments since the care is not in the context of a war. Direct-care staff should be used to represent “care.” Using old military or police enforcement language in the context of care also does not represent the care provided but subliminally sends a message that perpetuates stigma.
Dedra Serafin, MSC, BS Ed, RN, LAC, NCC
APNA Arizona Chapter President