Nurses have done their share in combatting swine flu

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As the world reacts to the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, the front line care providers — nurses — have helped our community. Communities across the country deal with the concerns of the illness, whether a case was confirmed or only feared. Earlier this month, the nursing profession celebrated its own during National Nurses Week. Take a moment to share your gratitude with a nurse you know and the next nurse you encounter.

To this day, the world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale, also known as “the Lady with the Lamp,” perhaps said it best when explaining the courage that fuels the collective will of nurses: “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” At New York Hospital Queens and throughout the country, our nurses are courageous healers by design who train continuously with unwavering spirits.

Nurses fill a unique role because they touch thousands of lives in our community every day. They are the heroes of health care today. More than 900 registered, professional nurses in multifaceted positions at New York Hospital Queens provide assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of patient care.

In fact, it was the school nurse who sounded the alarm on swine flu at St. Francis Preparatory School, alerting authorities that she was seeing an unusual number of sick students coming into her office. She did the right thing at the time and many people in Queens and beyond may have been much better prepared to protect themselves from infection.

While concerned people from across the borough soon began filing into emergency rooms, including ours, nurses were front and center, offering education and strategies for protection against the new virus, encouraging our communities to remain calm while staying conscious of our surroundings.

Nurses play such a significant role in caring for people. I am always gratified when I hear a story from one of our former patients or my neighbors about how a nurse’s expertise and kindness made the difference in their treatment experience and recovery.

In Queens, we have just had two borough hospitals close. The impact of those closings on patients and the other hospitals that have had to absorb more patients has been stressful. Still, our nurses man the front lines through thick and thin, exhibiting a calm, measured response while championing patient health through the highest quality of care.

We pay tribute to our nurses to say thanks to those who strive for better public health, reaffirm the values of nursing and focus on the diverse ways in which nurses are working to improve health care.

“Building a Healthy America” was this year’s Nurses Week theme, and I give our own nurses credit for adding to that, “and Building a Healthy Queens.” During Nurses Week, we took the time to give back to those who have dedicated their lives to the health and well−being of their fellow man.

Now more than ever, say thank you to a nurse who lives in your community. There is no question he or she deserves our gratitude today and every day.

Michaelle Williams

Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services

New York Hospital Queens


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