Suffolk County, NY - May 9, 2016 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Commissioner of Health Services Dr. James Tomarken join leaders throughout the nation in recognizing May 6 through May 12 as National Nurses Week. The designation provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the nursing profession and discuss the vital role nurses fulfill in healthcare.
Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.
For the past 14 years, the public has voted nurses as the most honest and ethical profession in America, in the Gallup annual poll. Last year, 85 percent of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high,” a full 17 percentage points above any other profession, including all other health professions. Ethics is an essential component of nursing practice, which emphasizes an ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of patients. In recognition of this profound obligation, the American Nurses Association has chosen “Culture of safety…it starts with YOU” as the theme of National Nurses Week 2016.
Nurses are autonomous, highly educated, licensed health professionals, who save lives through skilled monitoring and treatments, strong advocacy, and patient education. In the United States, nurses provide direct care in hospitals, private homes, skilled nursing facilities, primary care health centers and specialty clinics. Government positions held by registered nurses include acting deputy secretary of the U.S. department of health and human services, surgeon general of the United States Army, and executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.
On Long Island, registered nurses hold high-level leadership positions in hospitals, serving as senior vice presidents, regional executive directors, executive directors, presidents and CEOs. Nurses who work for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) provide a wide range of professional health care to Suffolk County residents, including around-the-clock care in the county’s jail medical units, home health services to patients in need, and 24/7 on-call epidemiology services to protect the health and safety of the 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 health care. 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. Multiple studies demonstrate that CNPs provide high- quality, cost-effective care.
Let us recognize and respect and honor our professional nurses as they continue to assume leadership positions, improve our health care system and provide cost-effective, safe, and high-quality care in a variety of health care settings.