2020 is the Year of the Nurse. National Nurses Week, which happens every year between May 6 and May 12, was expanded into National Nurses Month for 2020. According to the American Nurses Association, the month-long celebration is intended to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
All nurses work hard and deserve appreciation, and this definitely includes the nurses at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In recognition of the Year of the Nurse, here are three reasons why VA nurses are heroes.
1. They Help Veterans
The Veterans Health Administration serves 9 million Veterans at 1,255 health care facilities each year. According to US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness, a paper by Maria Olenick, Monica Flowers, and Valerie J Diaz, veterans experience disproportionate rates of mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury, compared to the civilian population.
VA nurses could have chosen to work in the private sector. Instead, they decided to play a critical role in delivering much-needed healthcare to our nation’s heroes. Some VA nurses — like Mary Ballard, The American Legion’s 2019 VHA Healthcare Provider of the Year — are even veterans themselves.
2. They Really, Really Care
The VA’s mission is to fulfill a promise made by President Lincoln to care for those “who shall have borne the battle” — veterans — as well as their families. The VA’s values are represented in the phase I CARE. I CARE is an acronym, and it stands for Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.
In their daily work to care for veterans’ mental and physical health and wellbeing, VA nurses demonstrate these values perfectly. These nurses are fulfilling President Lincoln’s promise and helping to carry out the VA’s core mission.
3. They Put Their Own Health at Risk
Nurses work hard to treat their patients. Sometimes, their own health suffers as a result.
Although the Year of the Nurse is designed to honor Florence Nightingale, it could not have come at a more appropriate time. According to a CDC report released on April 14, 2020, more than 9,000 total healthcare professionals had contracted COVID-19, representing 16 percent of national cases. Since then, the number of infected have only increased.
Every day, nurses and other healthcare workers work long hours, care for multiple patients, and come into proximity with various illnesses. Amid the current pandemic, they risk exposing themselves to a dangerous virus in order to provide care to the patients who need them. And they do it all, with the same dedication and kindness as ever.
All nurses, and VA nurses, in particular, are heroes. Make sure you let these heroes know how much you appreciate them.
Article authored by and containing the opinions of Starr Wright USA. This article is offered solely for informational purposes. Starr Wright USA is a marketing name for Starr Wright Insurance Agency, Inc. and its affiliate(s). Starr Wright USA is an insurance agency specializing in insurance solutions for federal employees and federal contractors. For more information, visit wrightusa.com. Starr Wright USA is a division of Starr Insurance Companies, which is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc.