Suffolk County, NY - May 5, 2015 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Commissioner of Health Services Dr. James Tomarken join leaders throughout the nation in recognizing May 6th through May 12th as National Nurses Week. The designation provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the nursing profession and discuss the vital role nurses fulfill in healthcare. As more Americans gain access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, consumers increasingly are finding that they can rely upon nurses to provide their preventive and primary care services.
“It is right that we should take this time to honor all of our nurses in Suffolk County and let them know that we appreciate them and hold them in high regard.” said County Executive Steve Bellone.
Nurses are autonomous, highly educated health professionals who save lives through skilled monitoring and treatments, strong advocacy and patient education. In most healthcare environments, nurses participate in shared governance, a model in which nurses share responsibility and accountability for all aspects of patient care within the confines of the health care agency. Nurses usually work within nursing departments and report directly to nurse administrators.
Nurses who currently hold leadership positions within government agencies include Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., RN, who was appointed Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Sally Dreslin, M.S., R.N., the Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.
“Nurses are integral to healthcare,” said Dr. Tomarken. “The profession is one that we hope will soon benefit from greater provisions for nursing education, clinical practice and research.”
Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) nurses provide a wide range of professional health care to community residents. Levels of nursing titles within the department include Licensed Professional Nurse (LPN), Registered Professional Nurse (RN), and Public Health Nurse (PHN). Each title represents professional licensure, degree of education, and scope of clinical practice. The department also employs advanced practice nurses as Clinical Nurse Practitioners (CNPs), who bring a comprehensive perspective to healthcare. CNPs hold Master of Science degrees, and blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions, with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management. CNPs provide high quality, cost-effective care. As healthcare changes in the coming years, it is anticipated that nurses will have more and expanded roles in developing and comprehensive, coordinated care and the management of chronic diseases.
For the past 13 years, the public has voted nurses as the most honest and ethical profession in America in the Gallup annual poll. During 2014, 80 percent of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high,” 15 percentage points above any other profession. In recognition of the impact ethical nursing practice has on patient outcomes and quality of care, The American Nurses Association has designated 2015 as the “Year of Ethics,” and the theme for National Nurses Week 2015 as “Ethical Practice. Quality of Care.”
Suffolk County recognizes and respects our nation’s largest health care profession and honors our professional nurses as they continue to map out ways to improve our healthcare system and provide cost-effective, safe and high quality care, in a variety of healthcare settings.