by Mary Lynn, Pannen BSN, RN, CCM
Founder and President
In 1993, the American Nurses Association declared May 6th-12th the nation’s week to elevate the nursing profession and celebrate it’s 4+ million registered nurses.
Since the days of Florence Nightingale visiting wounded soldiers, nursing has evolved from the trenches of distant wars to the frontlines of local healthcare problems, like how we care for our community’s aging population.
Nurses impact every part of health care, including the exploding sector of long-term care. As our state prepares for aging Baby Boomers (some dub it the “Silver Tsunami”), the development of resources for senior care is opening up opportunities and presenting a larger need for nurses. The problem is: we just don’t have the nurses available.
According to the most recent data from Washington’s Health Workforce Council, 18% of healthcare stakeholders in the North Puget Sound region of Washington — which includes Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and San Juan counties — have reported experiencing exceptionally long vacancies for registered nurses in the past 3-4 months.
And this is not a regional phenomenon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026, only a fifth of the roughly 2 million new nurses needed nationwide are expected to enter the field.
So to all aspiring nurses, I say, your opportunities are endless. To current nurses, the time is now. Let’s elevate our profession and communities we serve. I have spent over 30 years in the field of geriatrics and the work has been nothing short of rewarding - I would even call it life-changing. I have guided families during times of crisis, suffering, frustration, confusion and also witnessed happiness, family togetherness and moments of clarity, even pure joy.
In honor of Nurse’s Week, let us all thank nurses for their power to heal, empathize and most of all - make us feel cared for.
Published on May 6, 2019.