Staff Stories - May 12, 2020
by Amanda Ranowsky
If you’re lucky enough to have a nurse in your family, you know how special they are and how important their work is for all of us. I have several nurses in my family, and I’ve long admired their hard work, compassion and sense of duty toward their patients’ care. This year, I get to be part of a larger celebration that honors all nurses as we at Goodwin House join the international recognition of the Year of the Nurse.
This week, Goodwin House is also joining the national celebration of Nurses Week. We’re honoring the nurses and care partners (certified nursing assistants) who work in all levels of living at our residential communities, and those who work on behalf of our organization in the wider Northern Virginia area. We humbly honor these professionals who today are at the front lines of COVID-19.
Official, organized efforts to honor the work of nurses have been made sporadically over the past 60+ years. In 1994, the American Nurses Association (ANA) declared May 6 to 12 as the official dates of National Nurses Week. While most week-long holidays follow more traditional date patterns that start on a Monday and end on a Friday, Nurses Week is celebrated annually and specifically from May 6 through 12, regardless of the day of the week those dates fall on during the year.
Why did the ANA choose to do this? Because May 12 is Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
Florence Nightingale is known as the “founder of modern nursing”. She cared for injured soldiers during the Crimean War in the mid-1800s, reforming hygiene practices and reinventing how the sick were treated. She later established the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. Her impact on the practice of nursing cannot be underestimated.
National Nurses Week is celebrated for the six days before her birthday, and culminates on the actual day, May 12, which is recognized at International Nurses Day. For 2020, the celebration of Nurses Week has expanded. As we celebrate 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the ANA decided to expand National Nurses Week, to a month-long celebration. This month – May – is now designated National Nurses Month.
In January 2019, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization declared that 2020 would be the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. They made this designation in honor of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale: May 12, 2020. Little did they know how much 2020 really would become the year of the nurse.
As the pandemic of COVID-19 spread around the globe, the dedication and self-sacrifice that nurses already gave to their work became even more apparent. We have seen nurses working even longer hours than usual as they respond to influxes of patients, often in the face of personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages. They risk their lives to care for others.
The more than 450 members of the Goodwin House nursing staff work in a range of positions. Some provide care through our on-campus clinics, while others serve as home care aides. Some support and care for residents in assisted living, memory support and nursing care, while others deliver home health services or care for those who are in the end stages of life and receiving hospice care.
Within our Life Plan Communities, nursing staff provide personal care for residents who are unable to perform such tasks for themselves. Our nursing staff are part of a clinical team of RNs and physicians who direct care for residents. Care is individualized according to each resident’s needs, from assistance with bathing and dressing to help getting in and out of bed, or a chair.
Nursing staff feel like family to residents. They learn what makes residents smile, how they prefer to spend their day and what they like to eat. Their compassionate care is particularly invaluable during this difficult time, when families cannot visit in-person.
“No amount of thanks is ever enough for the tender, loving care our nursing staff provides to residents every day, all year long,” said Cathy Farmer, Goodwin House Alexandria Director of Clinical Services. “They are the most wonderful, dedicated people in the world.”
Karen Doyle, Administrator of Health Services at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads concurred. “I am grateful to all of the nursing staff for the important work they are doing every day. I thank them for the thoughtful, compassionate care they provide each of our residents and for being their anchor during these challenging times. We could not do all that we do every day without them.”
We’re not the only ones honoring nurses at this time. News channels are featuring photos of heroic nurses and other healthcare workers. Thousands of social media posts are calling out their incredible efforts. And recently, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed a flyover of the D.C. region to honor local healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers. The flyover was part of “America Strong, a joint effort to give military salutes to everyday heroes.
As we continue to honor our healthcare workers, and especially nurses during Nurses Month, we salute the work being done by caregivers – those serving the 2,000+ older adults in the broader Goodwin House Incorporated family across Northern Virginia and those serving millions of patients around the world.
As Marketing & Communications Specialist, Amanda Ranowsky partners with colleagues throughout Goodwin House to tell our stories and raise brand awareness. From printed collateral to digital marketing, Amanda covers many bases. Before joining GHI, Amanda worked for a small, family-owned business where she gained experience in content marketing. Amanda’s creative expression extends beyond the office. She is an active member of community theater and chorus groups.