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Nurses: Trusted for Compassion and Expertise

May 6, 2016

Culture of Safety – it starts with YOU is the theme for the 2016 National Nurses Week Celebration. Nursing has been rated by Gallup as the most trusted profession for 14 consecutive years by Americans who know that it is the nurse in his/her interactions as advocate, caregiver, teacher, counselor, and coach who focuses on and ensures the safety of all they serve. As paid employees and as volunteers nurses are present in every arena of life, from schools to hospitals, nursing homes and hospice, in public health departments, the military, clinics, private practices, faith based organizations, and educational institutions. They provide comprehensive, compassionate care to those they serve, helping each individual, their family, and support system to manage life challenges, to restore and maintain health, or to cope with life altering events. Nurses are the trusted professionals who are present when needed most for each one of us. This week as we celebrate nursing, it is imperative that we set aside time to acknowledge and recognize their service and contribution to the well-being and safety of each one of us.

Nurses are also leaders as CEOs, CNOs, COOs, Health Care Administrators, and Managers. They are champions of the nurses within their organizations focused on ensuring the provision of high quality care. Nursing leaders in education are responsible for the inspiration and education of our future nursing workforce. Nurse leaders in research are developing innovations and evidence of best practice in the health care industry while nurses serving in our state and national legislative bodies promote public policy and legislation that supports their constituents’ right and access to healthcare.

Nursing is both an art and a science: the preparation for nurses includes graduation from an approved nursing program, successful completion of a national license examination, and registration by the North Carolina Board of Nursing. All nurses must meet ongoing competency requirements to maintain their license. Many nurses return to school after their basic preparation to obtain degrees at the master’s and doctoral level. Nurses with advanced degrees practice in administration, education, direct care, and research. There are four advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with master’s or post-master’s degrees: Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Registered Nurses Anesthetists, and Clinical Nurse Specialists. In addition to their formal education, many nurses become certified in their specialty by the American Nurses Credentialing Commission or similar professional organizations. Certification in an area of practice is attained through demonstration of expertise in a specialty area through such measures as examination, continuing education, and practice hours.

As the President of the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA), I have the distinct honor and privilege to lead the only organization that represents all Registered Nurses throughout North Carolina. If you are not a member, please take a few minutes to explore our organization at and consider joining. Membership provides many benefits, including continuing education, mentoring, professional collaboration, and advocacy opportunities. On behalf of the NCNA Board of Directors and the more than 5,000 members of NCNA, I wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to all nurses in the state! Please join me and take a moment to say thank you to a nurse who you know, whether they might be a colleague, a spouse, a friend, or a care provider. They are deserving of our gratitude.

Warmest Regards,

Mary A. Graff, MSN, RN, NEA-BC
President, North Carolina Nurses Association