National Nurses Month
May is National Nurses Month! Please join us as we recognize the contributions of nurses and reflect on all they do to sustain the health of our communities.
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May 1 – Join us as we Celebrate National Nurses Month
Join us as we Celebrate National Nurses Month
For the second year in a row, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has declared May to be Nurses Month, recognizing the nation’s largest health care profession and honoring the critical and life-saving role that they play around the state, county, and world through the pandemic.
The UW School of Nursing joins the American Nurses Association and Washington State Nurses Association in celebrating National Nurses Month. This recognition adds to the growing national and international support for the role nurses play in our healthcare system, our community, and in combating the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines.
May 5 – International Day of the Midwife
Midwifery is a transformative experience
Midwifery is one of the oldest professions and human activities. The presence of skilled and empathetic human support during pregnancy and childbirth is vital to our survival. Midwifery has a philosophical basis that places high importance on shared decision-making between the midwife and the patient/family, while treating every patient as an individual with unique needs.
Nurse-midwifery, as a practice, has evolved quite a bit in the past century. The scope has expanded beyond childbearing to include reproductive care outside of pregnancy and even primary care. The American College of Nurse Midwives Competencies have recently expanded to include care for transgender individuals.
Read more about Jenny Rose Wilson one of our #HuskyNurse Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse-Midwifery alumni who has seen midwifery as a transformative experience.
Read more about one of our #HuskyNurse DNP Nurse Midwifery faculty Molly Altman and her latest research on Perinatal patients, nurses explain how hospital pandemic policies failed them
May 6-12 – National Nurses Week
National Nurses Week
National Nurses Week runs May 6 through May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nurses’ week is an annual celebration of nurses worldwide for the work they do for others. The week allows people the chance to acknowledge the nurses in their lives. It also provides an opportunity to thank nurses within the industry as a whole for the work they’ve done.
During COVID-19, nurses have worked tirelessly on the front lines to ensure that people who need help are cared for. The pandemic has taken a toll on nurses’ morale and mental health. Nursing, in general, is stressful and COVID-19 only amplifies that. Therefore, it’s even more critical to use nurses’ week to reach out and celebrate the nurses around you and throughout the world.
Executive Dean Azita Emami’s ‘insider–outsider’ perspective shapes her UW School of Nursing leadership. “Whatever I do, whether professionally or personally in my life, it’s very deeply and strongly impacted by my identity as an immigrant.” Read more here
May 8 – National Student Nurses Day
National Student Nurses Day
Our student nurses are preparing for careers as leaders, innovators, and competent, caring providers. The UW School of Nursing is proud that our Husky Nurses make an impact in communities around the world. From world-class medical centers in Seattle to clinical care provided in rural communities, they are dedicated to promoting nursing research and building improvements in health and healthcare.
And never has the need for nurses been so relevant. Look at almost any news story image of care being delivered during this pandemic and you see nurses on the frontlines. However, in addition to coronavirus, there is another unseen and largely unrecognized crisis lurking. While around 150,000 nurses graduate from colleges and universities across the country each year, the American Nurses Association estimates that we need to educate more than one million new registered nurses by 2022 to meet our country’s growing healthcare needs. Unless we in the U.S. act now and make substantial investments in educating more nurses and empowering them to provide a full spectrum of care, patients and communities will suffer in the future.
Below are a few stories about our student Husky Nurses
- Husky Nurse Doctor of Nursing Practice student Liam is fighting the front lines of COVID-19. He said to be part of a history, a health care provider in the midst of a global pandemic helping people who have contracted the virus, is something he thinks he’ll look back on with pride.
- Due to COVID-19 our nursing students have to attend virtual classes and in-person clinical practice opportunities are canceled. They’re eager to use their skills and knowledge during this historic challenge to human health and well-being had few options.We have partnered with Public Health–Seattle & King County to give students several opportunities to join frontline efforts to meet health needs and treat patients suffering from COVID-19.
- Husky Nurse PhD student, Katie experienced workplace violence and shares her experience, her road to recovery and how she plans “interweave her own experience to inform change and advocate for primary prevention. She want to focus on generating research that informs policy change, education, and prevention of workplace violence
Visit our Student Spotlight to learn more about our Husky Nurses, their passion for nursing and how they plan to become future nurse leaders.
May 12 – National School Nurses Day
The important role school nurses play in our communities
May 12, 2021, is National School Nurse Day, set aside each year to recognize the hidden health care system that serves our nation’s children. School nurses are on the front line addressing the health needs of every student in their schools – those who are well and those with chronic health problems. They are available to all children, even those whose demographics and social factors play a significant role in their health. Because of their location in the community, school nurses are critical to health equity efforts – not every child has access to health care, but every child can have access to a school nurse. School nurses train staff to provide care when they are not in the school building – delegating the safe and legal administration of medications and treatments, preparing for emergencies, and planning for staff and student safety. They also ensure that school districts follow laws around immunizations, vision and hearing screenings, care of students with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes, seizure disorders, and severe allergies. School nurses keep a watchful eye to prevent health problems on school playgrounds, cafeterias, and classrooms and conduct the necessary surveillance to detect, address and prevent the spread of infectious illnesses such as COVID-19. Nurses in our schools make sure every child can readily access medical and behavioral health care.
While a child’s health condition should drive their access to a registered nurse at school, too often, it is driven more by their zip code. A recent National Association of School Nurses’ workforce study shows that the further west a student lives in the U.S., the less reliable their access to a school nurse becomes. In Washington State, most school nurses serve students in multiple schools, and in rural areas, this entails driving long distances between schools. Despite the vital role school nurses play in keeping our children healthy and ready to learn, funding for this specialized profession comes primarily from local budgets. It is often one of the first services cut when budgets are constrained.
Please join us in honoring our school nurses today and every day. In partnership with parents, schools, and other health care staff, they are the key to keeping our students healthy enough to stay in school, ready to learn, and grow into a healthy generation.
-Dr. Mayumi Willgerodt, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair for Education in the Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing, University of Washington School of Nursing
-Katie Johnson, Lecturer, University of Washington School of Nursing
1 Willgerodt, M.A., Brock, D., & Maughan, E. (2018). Public School Nursing and School Nursing Practice in the United States. Journal of School Nursing, 34(3), 232-244. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1059840517752456
May 12 – Celebrating Florence Nightingale’s birthday
May 12 – International Nurses Day
International Nurses Day
May 19 – American Nurses Association Releases Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 4th Edition
May 19 – Importance and impact of nurses on rural health
Our impact on rural health nursing
Our nation’s rural communities are some of the most underserved, as they are sparsely populated and patients have limited access to healthcare, Recognizing the unique healthcare challenges are our rural areas face and the need for nurses trained to address those challenges, the University of Washington, with funding from Premera Blue Cross, established the Rural Nursing Health Initiative. The goal of the program is to train and place current nursing students in rural practices across Washington state.
The rural nursing program is part of Premera Blue Cross’ larger effort to improve access to healthcare in rural communities. Teaming up with the UW and other schools across the state establishes a pipeline of potential healthcare employees and nurse practitioners by providing a real-world, hands-on and leading-edge student experience.
May 21 – Nursing and the homelessness
Nursing and connecting with the homeless
Rising costs in healthcare and other disparities continue to widen the gap in health care equality, especially for our country’s most vulnerable populations. But there is one community that has struggled the most with the lack of access to health services: the unsheltered. For those who lack stable housing, the barriers to quality healthcare are immense and can seem insurmountable.
“Our culture has placed an emphasis on a ‘pulling yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality, that it’s your behavior that has led to your medical issues,” said UW School of Nursing Associate Professor Josephine Ensign. That stigma, she points out, makes it even harder for the homeless to get the medical care they need, in addition to the many underlying health issues this population experiences, like mental illness and substance use disorder.
Ensign is a member of the university’s interdisciplinary street medicine project, which provides basic medical and dental care to people living on the streets of the U District and visits local homeless shelters for women and teens. She has worked as a nurse practitioner and health services researcher around homelessness since 1984. And she knows firsthand about the challenges posed by homelessness, having found herself homeless for about six months as a young adult.
Nurses have long been at the forefront of providing care for the homeless, from working directly with patients who arrive at an emergency room needing wound care to working with the population’s significant mental health needs in shelters.
In the time of the coronavirus, Ensign and her students have had to pivot to find new ways to reach their patients. She was inspired when she heard that the old nurses’ dormitory at Harborview Medical Center had been turned into a Covid-19 assessment and recovery center.
“There are nurses in our community who did their training and lived in that dorm,” said Ensign. She said she likes the idea that the building has a long history of housing nurses whose calling was to provide care to even the most marginalized and is now being used to provide shelter that same population.
May 27 – Global Health and nurses
Nurses serving communities around the world
For the past eight years, Assistant Professor Jillian Pintye has worked on maternal- and child health-related research focused on HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. A nurse-scientist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biohehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, Dr. Pintye is affiliated with the Global Center for Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents, and Children (Global WACh) in UW’s Department of Global Health. In January she was in Kenya.
Karin Huster BSN ‘05 and MPH ‘13 is a clinical instructor who started working on the Covid-19 response back in January — as the Field Coordinator for the Doctors Without Borders response in Hong Kong, covering the East Asia region. She is back in Seattle and joined the response here, working with Seattle King County Public Health and the team coordinating the response for populations experiencing homelessness. Her experience abroad responding to other outbreaks (Ebola, cholera, yellow fever, diphtheria) has definitely helped her in this challenging response. She wrote about her experiences in Hong Kong.
DNP student and BSN UW Bothell alumnus ‘18 Kathryn Newton has provided care in Haiti and the Brazilian Amazon.
During her time in Haiti, she had an amazing opportunity as a women’s health nurse. She established a women’s health portion of the primary care clinic and was able to collaborate with a doctor on the team. She came home and ended up writing women’s health guidelines that outlined non invasive ways to assess vaginal discharge such as yeast and bacterial vaginosis that was integrated into their model of care. “I felt that being unnecessarily invasive by performing internal exams with a speculum was not necessary and there could be a different approach that wasn’t so disempowering and possibly trauma inducing,” said Newton. Many of these women do not have regular access to care and these field clinic sites do not provide the privacy or space needed.
During her time in the Brazilian Amazon, she lived on a boat and went out into flooded communities to provide care. The logistics of running a clinic was time consuming. Newton collaborated with the local community health nurse, Eunice, to provide care to those that needed to be seen. With the help of a translator they were able to do a group prenatal education session, answer questions and provide individual exams such as BP, fetal heart tones, fundal height, etc.
“I feel that the midwifery model of care is a way to provide patient centered care in collaboration with women in developing countries,” said Newton.
Read more about Newton in her student spotlight
Learn more about what our Husky Nurses are doing globally through our Center for Global Health Nursing