Washington, DC – Senator Merkley released a statement honoring National Nurses Week and recognizing the hard work of nurses and their commitment to addressing the needs of patients and their families:
“I know firsthand the critical role nurses play in providing safe, high quality, preventative health care. My wife Mary is a nurse and we both understand that the work of nurses directly results in better outcomes for patients. It’s important that we take this opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of our nurses as well as call attention to the work that needs to be done to ensure they succeed and receive the support they need.
“There is a nursing shortage in America that is severely hampering our health care system. Right now, our nurses are stretched so thin that they often are unable to provide all the care and compassion patients need.
“Quality nursing education is necessary to increase the number of qualified professionals joining the field. We need to train the best and the brightest not only to help patients, but also to join the ranks of those who educate our nurses.
“To meet this goal, we need to increase financial aid for nursing students and establish a National Center for Nursing to help recruit and retain nurses. We have an obligation to create a health care system that not only works for patients but also works for the people at the heart of patient care: our nurses. “
National Nurses Week begins annually on May 6th and ends on May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, known as the pioneer of modern nursing. National Nurses Week recognizes the integral role nurses play in promoting public health and highlights the work nurses are doing to improve health care. Today, there are nearly three million registered nurses across the United States.