May is a very special month for our healthcare family at Aspen Valley Hospital. First, May 6–12 is National Nurses Week, and May 9–15 is National Hospital Week. These important weeks of celebration and recognition overlap on the calendar every year as we take a moment to extend our gratitude to those who take care of us when we most need them. And never has the sense of appreciation and respect been more profound than now, as we continue to battle through a global pandemic, mindful of the fact that our nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals and support staff were the first to answer the call and to stand before an enemy that we didn’t fully understand.
Across the country and indeed here at Aspen Valley Hospital, our heroes donned Personal Protective Equipment that offered uncertain protection, and they put our patients and our patients’ needs ahead of their own. As our Chief of Staff, and Emergency Physician, Dr. Catherine Bernard commented to Aspen Public Radio about those early days, “We were frightened. Despite our training and our systems, the frontline workers were scared.” And yet, they stepped into the unknown, learned about their deadly foe, and dedicated themselves to prevention and treatment of inflicted patients over the ensuing months.
National Nurses Day is the first day of National Nurses Week, which concludes on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. At the end of the 19th century, Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing. Thanks to her strict use of hand-washing and hygiene practices while caring for wounded soldiers of the Crimean War, she and her helpers reduced the fatality rate from 42% to 2%. With over 3 million men and women working as nurses in numerous capacities in America today, they comprise the largest percentage of the U.S. healthcare workforce and are at the center of patient care in hospitals. Aspen Valley Hospital is extremely proud of the professionalism and compassion that is exhibited by our nursing professionals across our services. They contribute greatly to our patient experience and safety scores, which are among the highest in the country.
Healthcare is a team endeavor that depends upon the harmonization of a broad array of disciplines that each bring a high level of expertise and specialized training to the patient’s bedside. Thus, it is fitting that National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week should coincide and be collectively recognized by our country and our community. Our doctors in our community were also appropriately recognized on National Doctors’ Day on March 30 for their noble work. It is all of our staff and physicians, working together and with a profound sense of dedication, that deliver extraordinary healthcare to our community.
Please take a moment to thank your healthcare workers, who are also your family, friends and neighbors, for standing up and being strong, together, during the pandemic and every day that they lend their skills and their compassion to making our community healthier and our quality of life better. Aspen Valley Hospital has been this community’s trusted hospital for 130 years, and this community has supported and appreciated the Hospital in return. That is truly a partnership that deserves celebration.