What does “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate” mean to you? This year’s National Nurses Week nationwide theme focuses on the 4 million nurses practicing in the U.S. For those of us at UF Health, it means a lot because we have more than 3,200 nurses to celebrate here in our hospital system and physician practices!
And we know that we have some of the nation’s best Nursing and Patient Services staff working here at UF Health Shands. They have numerous national awards to prove it. It’s easy to honor our nurses and their passion for serving others and providing quality, compassionate care for our patients.
“I’m proud to have such a huge number of nurses who provide such excellent patient care, and I’m proud to be one of them,” said Irene Alexaitis, D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, UF Health Shands chief nursing officer and Nursing and Patient Services vice president. “I went into nursing to contribute, not just to help individuals, but to care for people as a whole. This profession struck me as one where you could make a difference, and I see that every day with our nurses.”
Our nursing staff have five current Beacon Awards for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses: the Cardiac ICU (gold), the Pediatric ICU (gold), the Surgical/Trauma ICU (gold), the Trauma/Lung Transplant Unit (gold) and the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (silver).
And our UF Health Shands hospitals recently earned our fourth-consecutive Magnet designation from the American Nurse Credentialing Center, which is the nursing profession’s most prestigious honor for excellence. Only 8% of hospitals and health systems nationwide have this designation and only 41 out of 500 hospitals have four consecutive awards.
UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez said, “Hospitals and nursing programs that earn the Magnet seal are recognized among the best worldwide. Irene and our nursing staff achieve the highest standards of patient care and exceptional nursing practice. We are so proud of their commitment and accomplishments.”
National Nurses Week kicks off May 6 and ends on May 12 on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. We will celebrate our nurses at the Nightingale
Award Ceremony at the UF Health Professions, Nursing and Pharmacy Building Auditorium on May 8.
The celebration is just a week long, but the positive influence nurses have on health care is appreciated every day.
During National Nurses Week, check out Empathy Corner on the Bridge for quotes and stories from our UF Health Shands nurses.