“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived: that is to have succeeded.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The beginning of May is a very special time for Aspen Valley Hospital, as it is every year, but particularly this year. Friday, May 6, was National Nurses Day, and today marks the beginning of National Hospital Week. While these celebration events occur every year, it is fair to say that some years have more meaning than others. And this is one of those years.
I have been blessed and privileged to work in and around hospitals, and with nurses, for nearly 40 years, the last 30 of which have been in an administrative role. Starting my profession while in college, as an EMT, I learned early to respect, admire and appreciate highly trained and dedicated hospital professionals, and I have held all of them in high regard my entire career. Hospitals are like a symphony with every type of instrument contributing, in different ways and at different times. And each instrument takes years to learn and master, just like healthcare professions, which require a commitment to the craft.
These celebrations are even more special for me at AVH, where I have spent half my career as an administrator, and where it feels like family. Perhaps that is why I am even more compelled this year than ever, because it has been hard for me to watch the hospital and the industry I serve, and the people I admire, face challenges during the past two years unlike anything they or I have ever seen. Needless to say, COVID will prove to be a generational impact for all of humanity, and for healthcare workers who have stood between it and our patients and community. In some ways, the aftereffects of COVID, and in some cases the lasting effects on our economy, our society, our families and our community, are worse than the virus itself.
AVH has been impacted by the national staffing crisis, the local housing market, and the lingering effects of COVID; and yet we continue to fulfill our commitment of quality healthcare to our community as we always have despite our challenges. Or better said, our dedicated and capable nurses, physicians and healthcare professionals at AVH will do their part, as they always do. Because that is who they are and exactly why we are celebrating them as an organization, as a community, and as a country.
Please join me and AVH in saying thank you to our friends, family members and neighbors who serve at AVH, or at any hospital, for being part of a dedicated team and a noble profession. You are our heroes. And please also remember, you are a part of our extended community, across the valley and beyond, and we are fortunate to have you. For our part, at AVH, we will continue to explore solutions for housing, the extreme workforce shortage, and to help our staff find balance and to enjoy the quality of life that only our community can provide.
As quoted on National Nurses Day by our Chief Operating Officer and long-time nurse herself, Elaine Gerson shared a quote by C.S. Lewis: “Hardships often prepare people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Elaine went on to say,
“Every day, we are faced with helping others through their own personal hardships. The personal calling to assist is what I believe drives people to choose a career in healthcare. Many have suffered hardships, and caregivers have been at the core of helping them. Your destiny IS extraordinary, and you have created memories in others that will last forever.”
Thank you, Elaine, that about says it all.