The Rockland County Legislature is celebrating National Nurses Week by publicly recognizing local nurses and thanking all for their service.
“This year, honoring our nurses is more important than ever,” Legislator Aney Paul said. “They are risking their lives on the frontlines in hospitals everywhere as they help battle the coronavirus, caring for the sickest of patients, grappling with the stress involved in providing that successful care, and dealing with the sad loss of lives.”
May is traditionally the month when nurses are recognized worldwide, in part because May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, likely the most famous of all nurses. Nightingale professionalized nursing roles and is known as the founder of modern nursing.
National Nurses’ Week is being celebrated this year from May 6 through May 12. This year is also designated as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in honor of the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.
Even before the pandemic, nurses have enjoyed positive reputations among the public.
In January in a new Gallop poll, Americans rated the honesty and ethics of nurses the highest among all other professions for the 18th year in a row. Eighty five percent of those polled rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high.”
Legislator Paul, who holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and was a practicing nurse for more than 30 years, typically honors local nurses for their service during a special ceremony each May. The need for social distancing is interrupting that tradition this year, but it is not preventing the expression of gratitude toward nurses.
“We may not be able to celebrate with many people in a close setting, but we can sing the praises of nurses everywhere to let them know how grateful we are to them for placing their lives on the line to help others, how much we value their hard work, and how much we appreciate their devotion,” Legislator Paul said.
Legislator Paul recently wrote letters of thanks and support to local hospitals, acknowledging the contributions of nurses, doctors and all involved in the fight to stop the spread of the virus and care for the sick.
She has sewed dozens of face masks and donated them to nurses, pharmacists and occupational therapists, among others.
She is also involved in a public outreach effort to provide health information about preventing COVID-19 and managing the situation should an individual or their family member test positive. She and other members of the outreach team will participate in a Haitian radio station program on Sunday to highlight ways to fight the spread of the virus. The show will air at 9 a.m. on AM 1700.
“If we can prevent even one person from going to the hospital, it will assist our nurses and doctors on the frontlines,” Legislator Paul said.