If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate Nurses’ Week this year, factor in healthcare freedom. Let’s start with the reasons.

Three great reasons to Celebrate Nurses Week 2023:

  1. You probably know at least one nurse, or are related to one.
    If you are one yourself – THANK YOU for all you do!
    (More about celebrating in a second.)
  2. Nurses are the most numerous of the health professions, and they’re the glue that holds healthcare together.
    They coordinate the rest of the team and fill the gaps in our stressed-out system. Why? To make the ride smoother for us, their patients.
  3. Nurses are out there saving lives every day. One day, they may save yours.

This Nurses’ Week, I recommend books for all the nurses you know.

Most of them feel burned out after years of “expert” rule battering their autonomy, capped by policy-driven shortages, then COVID and IBT mandates. They’re leaving the profession in droves.

Listening to attendees introduce themselves at the workshop last Saturday, over 50% had begun in nursing and gone on to something else. And who can blame them? Thanks to the strictures of federal and state policy, nursing is slipping back towards the dismal days of disrespect. In the eyes of many nurses, it is no longer the profession they once loved.

However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be again. We need nurses more than ever. So let’s build the conversation about professional autonomy, respect, and healthcare freedom.

How can we know where we’re going, unless we’re aware of how we got here?

This week, nurture the nurses in your life with a special dose of inspiration, hilarity, and pathos.

Nurses Week inspiration

Nothing accomplishes that like a good book, in my humble opinion. These books help nurses gain valuable historic perspective, ideas for more freedom in the future, and the knowledge that they are absolutely not alone.

Here are my top five recommendations from my bookshelf:

  • Notes on Nursing, by Florence Nightingale
    It’s fascinating to read her passionate advocacy for the major patient problems and nursing solutions of her day.
    Theories and cultures change, but the heart of nurses for patients is constant. Florence Nightingale elevated nursing through academics, science, expertise, and accountability. Since then, nurse leaders have been following that path. If she were still alive, would she have called a halt to the layers of bureaucracy in favor of beside autonomy by now? I like to think so.
  • In the Blink of an Eye, by Alan Doelp
    Inspiring stories of emergency pediatric care and human resilience.
  • They Must Have Seen Me Coming, by Louise Brindley
    Step back in time to a nursing home  in England after World War II. This woman was not a nurse, but passed for one, and all turns out well. The stories will have you gasping with laughter and smiling in sympathy for the old folks she grows to know and care about. At every turn, they challenge her ingenuity to cope with their unique personality quirks and deeply human needs. (This was a birthday gift from my Mom. Way to go, Mom!)
  • Big Brother in the Exam Room, by Twila Brase
    If you wonder what changed healthcare in the past 20 years, this is the book you need. It’s a revealing read, and an outstanding reference.
    This nurse author has a passion for patient privacy. Her clear, thorough documentation shows how today’s federal healthcare law bulldoze freedom and autonomy by violating privacy. She addresses the impact on both patients and clinicians. Best of all, she includes a long, well-considered list of action items to take privacy and autonomy back.
  • E.R. Nurses, by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann
    Poignant, intensely personal stories, giving the essence of nursing from ERs all over the US.
    A friend gave me this 2021 compilation of memorable nurse stories a few months ago, and I’m about halfway through. It’s not a speed-read, but worth lingering over. I find myself reading a few chapters, then letting it just settle.

These are treasured gifts and great reads. Have you read any of them yet? Try one and drop a review in the comments!

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