MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Each spring, the celebration of National Nurses’ Week begins May 6, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. In support of this year’s theme, “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring,” WVU Healthcare has numerous events planned to commemorate the occasion.

Nurses’ Week activities moved into full swing today with a kick-off event at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center’s Okey Patteson Auditorium. “The Future of Nursing: A Conversation with West Virginia Nurse Leaders,” featured an interactive panel discussion led by Dottie Oakes, R.N., M.S.N., WVU Healthcare vice-president and chief nursing officer.

Nursing leadership from across the state joined Oakes and a gathering of WVU Healthcare nursing professionals to discuss the progress of the recommendations outlined in The Future of Nursing, a 2010 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Institute of Medicine (IOM) initiative to transform and revolutionize the nursing profession.

“The American Nurses Association estimates that the national nursing shortage will peak by the year 2020, so you have great job security,” Oakes told her audience.

The report stresses the importance of engaging nurses as full partners in the redesigning of healthcare in the United States, allowing them to seamlessly achieve higher levels of education and fully use the skills they have learned.

“With 3.1 million nurses, we are the largest and most powerful health care workforce out there,” Oakes said.  “Much of the current IOM report focuses on nursing, and one of the main goals of the Future of Nursing initiative is to have nurses practicing at the full extent of their training.”

After the panel discussion, attendees took the opportunity to hold their own conversations in response to the panel discussion.

Another high point of the week is a Wish List Drive to benefit WVU Healthcare’s Rosenbaum Family House. Last year, nearly 800 families stayed at the Family House for extended visits, and with every room occupied every night, the basic ‘comforts of home’ are always appreciated. With collection boxes located in each unit, the kitchen and home staples drive is this year’s Nurses’ Week Community Project, ending Friday.

One tradition unique to Nurses’ Week is the Blessing of the Hands. Throughout the week, chaplains visit individual units throughout the hospital to provide this service. Other unit-based activities are scheduled throughout the week as well.

WVU Healthcare nurses can also take advantage of discounts on scrubs and gift items at the WVUH Friends Gift Shop, and since nurses spend so much time on their feet, Queen City Shoes will be set up outside the gift shop with shoes for the entire family Tuesday through Thursday. The shop has also donated gift baskets to be awarded to random nursing staff winners throughout the week.
For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communications Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 05-04-12