ONA Executive Director Jane Nelson.

Nurses Month to Be Celebrated May 1-31

By Jane Nelson, CAE

Never in a million years could we anticipate that in 2020 nurses would be on the frontlines with the COVID-19 pandemic; this is truly the Year of the Nurse!
“As the largest group of health care professionals in the U.S. and the most trusted profession, nurses are with patients 24/7 and at the beginning of life to the end. Nurses practice in all healthcare settings and are filling new roles to meet the ever-growing demand for health and health care services,” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Despite the major role nurses play in health care delivery and community outreach, there are still opportunities to increase understanding of the value of nursing by expanding investment in education, practice, and research, as well as increasing the number of nurses who serve in leadership positions.”
May 6 – 12th is typically the week that has been designated to recognize and celebrate the work Nurses do every day, 24/7. This year Nurses Week has been expanded to a month-long celebration to expand opportunities to elevate and celebrate nursing in honor of 2020 being the Year of the Nurse. As always, we hope you will wear your “RN pin” on May 6th in honor of RN Recognition Day and celebrate Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12th. However, there is more with this entire month being dedicated to celebrating nurses! Please go to the ONA website, oklahomanurses.org, to see the special events and resources we have designed to support you in the work you do 24/7, especially this year. ANA also has some special events, including a webinar with Carolyn Jones, on “telling your story.”
ONA has always worked to advocate for nurses, nursing, and the profession as a whole. That adage remains steadfast, especially during this crisis. We are working to ensure nurses have a seat at the table; ONA has been invited to participate with other health care providers in discussions with the Governor’s cabinet. These meetings have been focused on Oklahoma’s emergency response to COVID-19 – accessibility of PPE, availability of testing, and the overall workforce. Additionally, ONA has signed on or authored several letters to the Governor regarding Stay-at-Home orders, PPE, testing, and workforce.
Besides these advocacy efforts, we’ve worked to develop a place on our website for our nurses to find resources and tools to help navigate COVID-19 – we hope you’ve found these helpful. It’s imperative that you not only have access to these resources but that you also have a safe space to share and network with fellow nurses. We created our Networks of Support: Connecting Oklahoma Nurses for just that reason. We’ll continue to put on Networks of Support for the foreseeable future, as this has also assisted us in advocating for you. We have expanded this Network of Support for the month of May to provide you with tools that will help you mitigate stress, fatigue, and moral and ethical issues you are facing.
So this week, as you celebrate Nurses Week, consider how you can make a difference in your life and in the life of your patients. Let ONA know how we can help you and other nurses advocate for change. ONA works to advocate for nurses, the profession, and your patients, but we need to hear from you to know your needs firsthand. Let’s Celebrate Nurses Week!
About ONA’s Chief Executive Officer—Jane Nelson, CAE was named the CEO of the Oklahoma Nurses Association in March 2002. She has more than 30 years of association management and marketing experience with a variety of organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.
Nelson is a member of the American Society of Association Executives and the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives.