Physicians are often thrust into the spotlight for the work they do, and often the notoriety is well deserved. However, there are many extraordinary nurses who have equally and dramatically changed the face of health and healthcare through their tireless efforts to serve their communities and make an impact on the world. With Nurses Week 2017 right around the corner, (May 6-12), we honor and celebrate nurses around the globe. From the battleground to the bedside, from offices to surgical suites, from nursing schools to government boardrooms, nurses make decisions daily that impact lives.
The following nurses are simply a few who should be household names as their past or current work directly impacts the healthcare we receive today and will receive in the future.
- Linda Aiken PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN conducted pioneering research that found patient outcomes were improved when each nurse cared for fewer patients and more nurses held bachelor’s or higher academic degrees. In addition, her research showed that organizations that included nurses in decision-making further supported better patient outcomes. Dr. Aiken’s work has influenced nursing and organizational practice throughout the United States and internationally.
- Pat Benner RN, PhD, FAAN, FRCN identified the stages of learning throughout one’s nursing career and devised tools for assessing the needs of an individual nurse at different points in their career. She is the author of a well-known book titled “From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice”, a book that is a guiding resource found in nursing schools, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations.
- Luther Christman PhD, RN, FAAN advocated for racial and gender diversity in nursing. He founded the National Male Nurse Association which later became known as the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. His work paved the path for men to become prominent in nursing.
- Susan Reinhard RN, PhD, FAAN is a senior vice president at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that aims to improve the quality of life for individuals over the age of 50. She is director of AARP’s Public Policy Institute which is central to public policy research and the analysis and integration of this research at the state, federal, and international levels. Ms. Reinhard is also the chief strategist for nursing in America which aims to prepare nurses to skillfully provide nursing care into the future.
- Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams PhD, RN, FAAN currently serves as the United States Acting Surgeon General, making her the head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the leading spokesperson for all public health issues at the federal government level. She is one of the first nurses to hold this high-level position.
Many other nurses have also made their mark in healthcare, some on a large scale and others a bit smaller. No matter what the size, nurses make a difference in the lives of individuals like you and I every single day. Hug a nurse. Tip your hat to a nurse. Thank a nurse. Nurses deserve to be celebrated!