Honoring National Nurses Week May 6-12
From life-threatening circumstances to delivering babies, and caring for the eldery and all people during their final days, nurses experience some of the most challenging and heartbreaking work in the medical industry.
Nurses are the first point of contact for most patients; they serve as a crucial link between patients and doctors. It’s a powerful contribution that nurses make to the community and oftentimes, the commitment leads to burnout.
The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic took a massive toll on mental health among nurses; according to a highly alarming study out of the University of Michigan School of Nursing, female nurses are 70 percent more likely to take their own lives than female doctors, however, suicide risk among doctors was not found to be significantly higher than the risk seen among the general public. The University of Vermont did a similar study and found that male nurses are at a suicidal risk of 1.4 times higher than the general public.
By 2030, the world could be short 5.7 million nurses, according to The World Health Organization. When it comes to Nevada, six of 13 rural hospitals in the state (46%) are at risk of shutting their doors, according to the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.
To acknowledge the contributions of nurses and call attention to their working conditions, National Nurses Week is observed May 6-12. To honor the nurses in the Silver State, Nevada Health Link is recognizing their contributions and sacrifices by sharing inspiring stories of those who continue to support, invest, and strengthen health systems around the world.
Education opportunities to alleviate shortage
When Drs. Sandra Koch and Tim McFarren moved to Carson City in 1990 to work at Carson Medical Group, many of the nurses they worked with had trained at Western Nevada College. As the shortage of doctors and nurses became critical in Nevada, Koch and McFarren established a $250,000 endowment at WNC that pays for half of the cost of a two-year education for two nursing students each year.
Mental health support in med school
Elizabeth Hinchman said one of the best things about being a nurse is that each day is different. Now teaching undergrads as a clinical instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Hinchman also ensures she teaches her students about balancing mental health as well. Raised in a family of doctors, Hinchman often uses storytelling as a teaching strategy when teaching med school undergrads. Hinchman was recently named one of UNLV’s Outstanding Part-Time Instructors of 2022.
Nurses are leaders, too
Hailing from Las Vegas, Alyssa Tygh recently received The Alumni Society Board Undergraduate Student Service Award at Penn State. Tygh has held several leadership positions on the local, state and national levels through the Student Nurses Association at Penn State (SNAPS), the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP), and the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA).
Tygh is graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a minor in health policy and administration. She said she hopes to work in an emergency department, and in the future, she wants to attend graduate school to work in healthcare policy, law, or leadership.
Pandemic sparks passion for humanity
The COVID-19 pandemic inspired University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Miranda Sanders to continue her career in the medical field as she saw many front line healthcare workers respond to other clinics and hospitals in need of assistance. The nursing student recently began her paid apprenticeship at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas Valley. The position isn’t required for her degree, but Sanders took the opportunity to aid a community experiencing a shortage. In January 2022, Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state health department and board of nursing have called on eligible nursing students to strongly consider becoming a nurse apprentice to help with the constant challenge of staffing hospitals across the state.
How you can thank local nurses
- Thank them with a fresh meal or massage. Nurses work long hours with little breaks in between. Send a nurse in your life a surprise meal or spa session to show your appreciation.
- Donate blood, if eligible. This is an easy way to help ensure the healthcare system has the resources it needs to save lives.
- Write a ‘thank-you’ note. Heartfelt notes will show your appreciation for each nurse’s efforts.