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Nurses remain dedicated to caring for all

National Nurse Week begins today

There is perhaps no profession that is so intertwined with an individual’s life as nursing is.

Nurses are there to help bring new life into the world. They administer the vaccines, and help people get through all the various illnesses and injuries of a lifetime. And at the very end, nurses care for people in their last days.

Nurses provide care in the form of medicine and therapy. But they also provide it in the form of reassuring words and a comforting presence.

In light of what they do for all of us, it is highly appropriate that we spend a little time honoring them.

National Nurse Week begins today and ends May 12. It has been marked every year since 1974, when former President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation establishing it.

There is a significance to the timing of National Nurse Week. It always concludes on May 12, which was the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is widely regarded as the person who created professional nursing. She worked in British hospitals during the Crimean War, a largely forgotten conflict that pitted Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire against Russia from 1853 to 1856. Her strict rules on sanitation, which included requiring hospital staff members to wash their hands often, are credited with drastically reducing the death rate in the hospitals. In 1860, she established the world’s first professional nursing school in London.

The skills and knowledge of nurses have expanded rapidly since then, to the benefit of humanity.

Other elements of the profession have changed, too. For example, growing numbers of men have joined the ranks of nurses recently.

UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge employs 377 nurses at its various facilities. There are dozens more nurses employed at local nursing homes, care facilities, home care services, schools and the Webster County Public Health Department. All of them are here to care for all of us.

We are humbled by their dedication. All we can say is thank you.

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