By Jill Penley
People decide to pursue nursing for various reasons, but for Amy Henson, currently with Johnson County Medical Group, the choice of profession was personal.
“I decided to pursue nursing when my brother was in the hospital,” said Henson, “I saw what a difference a kind, caring nurse could make for the patient and the family.”
Nursing plays an integral part in any successful healthcare system. Comprising the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, nurses represent one of the fastest growing professions in the country with more than 3.1 million registered nurses practicing nationwide. Whether providing care in hospitals, in-office, home-based or long-term care – nurses often work long hours to assist others, and this week has been set aside to recognize their national contribution. Amedisys, Inc., one of the nation’s leading home healthcare, hospice, and personal care companies, is among the many companies planning special events this week in honor of nurses and particularly the more than 5,700 nurses who call the company home.
“Amedisys is a company of caregivers with nurses as a key component of our success and our excellent patient care,” stated President and CEO Paul Kusserow. “I’m honored to support and inspire these outstanding professionals.”
The week’s festivities, supported by the American Nurses Association (ANA), actually officially kicked off last week with National Nurses Day falling on May 6 and will close on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who has been called “the founder of modern nursing.” First instituted in 1953, National Nurses Week celebrates the contributions nurses have made for the medical profession and encourages recognition of nurses and nursing students for their tireless work. The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence.
Teresa Ransom, who started working as a nurse in the operating room at Watauga Medical Center in Boone in 2001, explains she originally wanted to go into veterinary medicine, but when it was determined the school for that specialty was too far away, she chose to enter nursing. Ransom, returned to Mountain City after her husband retired from the military, and considers nursing a true calling. “I love helping people through the rough parts of life,” she said.
Incidentally, nursing continues to be one of the most in-demand professions and as Baby Boomers age and the need for healthcare grows, the shortage of nurses is expected to intensify. Not only are experienced nurses retiring at a rapid rate, but there are also not enough new nursing graduates to replenish the workforce.
The American Nurses Association estimates the U.S. will need to produce more than one million new registered nurses by 2022 to fulfill the country’s health care needs.Fortunately, there are no shortages of caring individuals, young and old, that give of themselves to inspire, innovate and influence. Perhaps, Joannie McQueen, RN with Signature Healthcare, explained the nursing profession the best when she said, “It’s the hardest thing and the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It’s everything I imagined, plus a lot I couldn’t have dreamed up in a million years.”