The Year of the Nurse: Thank You to Nurses Leading the COVID-19 Response

To be a fellow-worker with God is the highest aspiration of which we can conceive man capable. – Florence Nightingale, founder of the modern nursing profession (1820-1910)

Florence Nightingale’s words echo the Mission, Vision, and Values of Ascension Saint Agnes nurses as they answer the call to serve our community with incredible strength of healing during these unprecedented times and nearly overwhelming conditions.

The World Health Organization and the American Nurses Association designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse, and nurses have never been more critically important to the healthcare industry. This year, these usually unsung caregivers are being widely recognized as healthcare heroes.

We have seen countless nurses at Ascension Saint Agnes and throughout the nation leave their homes to bravely face the greatest global healthcare challenge of our time. We are grateful for and humbled by the unwavering dedication to patient care displayed daily by nurses nationwide as they lead with their fellow caregivers at the front line of this pandemic. It is no surprise that Gallup named nursing as the most trusted profession for the 18th year in a row.

At a time when many patients are alone and isolated from their families, our nurses have gone beyond clinical care with simple acts of compassion to brighten long days of solitude and show patients how much they matter. At Ascension Saint Agnes, we’ve seen nurses help patients and families find new and safe ways to connect through FaceTime calls, hold the hands of patients in their final stages, and offer prayers.

We are also grateful for the greater Baltimore community’s support and signs of appreciation to our nurses. So many people, both young and old, have showered our nurses with meals, thoughtful gifts, encouraging chalk messages, children’s drawings, and signage around hospital entrances and walkways for our teams to see and appreciate as they start and finish their shifts.

Celebrating our nurses has never been more important to us than at this moment. Who could have predicted that during the designated Year of the Nurse our nurses would be leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

While our nurses continue to battle COVID-19 on the front lines, our colleagues across Ascension are working behind the scenes to help empower them with innovative solutions to improve how they care for patients and each other.

As it turns out, 2020 is truly the Year of the Nurse. As we celebrate Nurses Week, we are reminded that, as throughout the 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale, the healthcare industry continues to rapidly change. What doesn’t change is the high level of compassion, strength, and dedication nurses provide to their patients every day.

To our Ascension Saint Agnes nurses, and all nurses living out the Nightingale pledge, we humbly say: Thank you.