SEATTLE – May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and folks around the state are honoring Washington’s nearly 57,000 registered nurses.
President of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Jennifer Doyle explained that nursing is a profession that requires unique skills and dedication. She said nurses often are not given credit for their hours of education and training.
“Nurses have been named the most trusted professionals for the past 17 consecutive years by the Gallup Poll,” Doyle said. “With that trust comes responsibility. But certainly Nurses Week is important because it educates the public about the nurses’ role in health care.”
Doyle said nurses are truly on the front lines of care, and are well-positioned to assess and help address chronic health care problems, such as the opioid epidemic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in the Evergreen State earn on average nearly $80,000 a year. And a recent WalletHub survey ranked the state 3rd on its list of best states for nurses to work.
The American Nurses Association has developed resources to help nurses identify and manage patients battling addiction. Doyle said that includes educating patients on the proper use of medication for pain management, as well as non-drug alternatives.
“For any person undergoing surgery, we’re trying – as health care in general – trying to send patients home with less opiate medicine,” she said; “not to expect that you’re going to go home with two months worth of opiates.”
National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.
A survey ranked Washington state third on its list of best states for nurses to work. (lira_n4/Twenty20)
Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.