May 1, 2022
Happy Nurses Month! I am honored to speak on behalf of the phenomenal registered nurses of North Carolina as president of the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA). This is a time to recognize the efforts of nurses, let them know how much we appreciate them, and look for ways to support the profession.
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The impact of COVID-19 and all things experienced in the past couple of years have exacerbated our weaknesses and also magnified our strengths. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are still overworked and often on the brink of burnout. Many of these problems already loomed before the pandemic arrived. NCNA is continuing to work with policymakers, hospital administrators, and other stakeholders to improve these conditions and reshape the state’s healthcare system so it is more sustainable and creates better outcomes for patients. We have proven through our living that we are stronger than we could ever fathom. Now that we are in Spring of 2022, we must spring forward into a season of renewal and restoration.
The theme for Nurses Month 2022 is, “You Make a Difference.” For the 20th year in a row, Gallup has recognized nurses as the most trusted profession in the country. There are 4 million nurses in America, and in North Carolina we are 150,000 strong! We have an intricate network of movers, shakers and innovators that impressively advance our profession. Nurses are helping provide care in schools, in the military, in prisons, in corporations, and every type of workplace in between. Nurses are at the bedside and in the C-suites, serving as leaders at the highest levels of healthcare. Nurses spearhead groundbreaking research projects and serve in the North Carolina General Assembly. We proudly reflect North Carolina’s population in our own diversity, whether it be race, gender, age, or any other number of other demographic metrics.
Nurses, you are part of a profession that has proven that you truly make an indelible difference in lives of the precious patients we serve and in every capacity we engage. If you are a nurse who has not yet joined NCNA, I encourage you to learn more about what we do each day to improve the profession we love. We provide nurses with the tools they need to level up their careers and their profession: access professional development opportunities, quality continuing education, networking with colleagues from across the state, and advocacy for important policy changes.
If you are not a nurse, please take a moment to reach out to friends and family members who are nurses. Tell them you appreciate what they are doing. Trust me, it will mean the world to them.
In closing, I am reminded about the story of the starfish. A man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm; in the distance, he could see someone moving like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman picking up starfish and gently throwing them back in the ocean. “Young lady, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” he asked. The girl replied, “The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in, they will die.” The man replied, “But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference.” The young women listened politely, then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea. She responded, “It made a difference in that one.”
Fellow nurses, continue to rise above your current situation and make a difference in each person you meet and in every encounter you have. Continue to seize opportunities and know that you do amazing things to advance our profession. As you celebrate Nurses Month, try to take the chance to rest, relax, and renew. At the North Carolina Nurses Association, we proudly say “thank you” for helping us lead Nursing Forward®.
Happy Nurses Month,
Meka Douthit EL, DNP, RN, NE-BC
North Carolina Nurses Association