Nurses work hard and often know more about their patients than any other medical care provider. Nurses in long-term care settings, such as those in drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics, like Hickory Treatment Centers, help their patients not just with physical care, such as methadone withdrawals, but with care and compassion emotionally, soothing worries for people going through the difficult physical and mental effects of early sobriety.
Nursing is a career based on care and sacrifice. To honor these individuals, we’re celebrating Nurse Appreciation Week, thanking our nurses for all they do. National Nurse Appreciation Week is May 6 – May 12 and celebrates nurses’ vital role in our healthcare system.
The History of the Nursing Profession
The nursing profession dates back to the earliest hospitals of the Roman Empire, constructed in the first centuries A.D. Nurses worked alongside doctors to provide medical care and help with treatments. Nursing care expanded in the Middle Ages, as the Catholic Church provided nursing and medical care in monasteries and convents. However, nursing in Europe declined during the political upheavals of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Florence Nightingale and her treatment of soldiers injured during the Crimean War in the 1850s brought about a revival of the nursing profession in Europe and is considered the beginning of modern nursing care. She implemented significant, life-saving sanitary measures and established a duty of care for healthcare teams. Nightingale and her nurses are now almost synonymous with compassionate and patient-centered nursing care.
The Development of Modern Nursing
The single greatest contribution of Florence Nightingale is setting an example to other medical care professionals about setting and enforcing standards of care in both nursing education and practical application. She espoused evidence-based care – a treatment still used in many fields, including addiction recovery – and noted nurses’ powerful role in patient recovery.
Since that time, many other notable figures helped advance the nursing industry into what we know it now, including Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix, Linda Richards, and Mary Eliza Mahoney.
The History of National Nurses Week
However, official recognition for the nursing profession didn’t happen alongside Florence Nightingale’s efforts. It wasn’t until 1896, when the American Nurses Association (ANA) was founded, that modern nursing practices, education, and standards truly took hold. The ANA championed the support of nurses and public health, including an 8-hour workday and other safety standards.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) established the first International Nurse Day on May 12, 1974, the anniversary of Nightingale’s death. In 1974, President Richard Nixon declared a week in February as National Nurses Week, although it was later moved to coincide with the international recognition date in May.
How You Can Celebrate National Nurses Week
At Hickory Treatment Centers, we honor our nurses, CNAs, and other nursing staff during the second week of May. If you have a particular nurse who has helped you or a family member, consider writing them a card or participating in celebratory activities at your local medical care center. For people who have had their lives touched by a nurse, nothing is more rewarding for these hardworking professionals than knowing how much their care and compassion have helped the life of another person.
If you struggle with addiction, our compassionate addiction recovery team, including nurses trained in addiction care, can help. You are not alone, and at Hickory Treatment Centers, you’ll have the support of many professional caregivers to help you get clean and stay sober. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you.